GRUNGEREPORT.NET REVIEW OF LOCAL H’S NEW ALBUM HALLELUJAH I’M A BUM
LOCAL H – HALLELUJAH I’M A BUM – REVIEW
WRITTEN BY GRUNGEREPORT.NET READER ARNAUD CANNEVA
It’s hard to believe that Chicago’s Local H have been around for over 20 years now. Mostly known for their 1996 breakthrough album, As Good as Dead ,featuring the song Bound for the Floor, the band since then has flown under the radar, putting out several quality albums over the years, while their contemporaries have slowly faded away. Though the music industry and rock scene has changed a lot since their early days, the hard working two-piece band delivers once again with a new album that stays true to their original formula.
This new collection of songs definitely sounds heavy: the riffs are simple yet very rewarding and hooky, the production is clean but makes the band sound a whole lot bigger than the duo that they are, the vocals from Scott Lucas (singer and guitarist) cuts sharply through the distortion of the guitars while drummer Brian St-Clair’s stripped down work is effective from start to finish. Like most of their albums, Hallelujah I’m a Bum is a concept record. This time, the band focuses on the current political climate of the United States with a backdrop of a cold winter in the windy city. The record is a double album that sprawls for just over an hour as songs flow seamlessly into the next, with a few being reprised with a different touch later on. Standout tracks in the first half include first include Cold Manor (Lucas’ vocal delivery shines on this relatively calm track), the hard rocking They Saved Reagan’s Brain and Say the Word, a more subdued song that slowly builds towards a nice payoff (in my opinion the best song on the whole record). On the other hand, a song like Night Flight to Paris falls flat: the promising riff is repeated throughout the whole track with little variation.
The second disc continues in the same vein and flows even better than the first half, despite the songs not being quite as memorable as those of the first half. Feed a Fever is an incredibly catchy hard rock song that is reminiscent of All the Kids Are Right (off Local H’s 1998 album, Pack Up the Cats) and features just the right dose of cowbell! The album also finishes off strong, namely with the succession of Limit Your Change (a short and sludgy cynical song that features quotes from Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney most notably) and Paddy Considine. The transition between the two is very well done. On the downside, the acoustic Look Who’s Walking on Four Legs Again doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album, despite that I consider it a nice effort to diversify the band’s sonic palette.
Overall, Hallelujah I’m a Bum definitely stands as one of Local H’s best works to date. Musically, the album feels fresh and vital. And even though the theme of the record will inevitably have an expiration date, as it is anchored in a precise time frame, this is a solid rock record from a solid rock band with no pretention or oversized egos.