Success may not yet have spoiled Scott Lucas, but his indignant yelp on Here Comes the Zoo testifies that dude would still be willing to let it have its way with him. Local H were once the Only Nirvana Rip That Mattered-pop-wise metalheads who misread grunge dynamics to be a formal language, like 12-bar blues, into which any malcontent could pour his frustrations. Some of Lucas's resentments were directed at women, some at fame. The most indelible combined the two, leading to questions like, "If I was Eddie Vedder/Would you love me any better?"
It would seem to follow that the more one is wronged, the more righteously one's bitterness would ring. Well, let's test that logic. As if the general public's lack of interest weren't wounding enough, Local H have had their share of biz struggles. When corporate consolidation resulted in an Island-Def Jam shotgun wedding, Island boys Local H were shipped off to Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures imprint. And how does Lucas strike back? Try "(Baby Wants to) Tame Me," a hackneyed sentiment even if it's meant as ironically as its scowling lyric "Keep your girlfriend away from me/Got a couple hits of ecstasy." (As for political protest, Lucas rails against the role Thai food plays in the emasculation of America. Very righteous.)
Still, on their fourth album, the band remains a two-man lockstep powerhouse, even though the second man is now Brian St. Clair of Chicago vets Triple Fast Action, whose four-on-the-floor drums are an even-up trade for former Local H member Joe Daniels's Dave Grohl imitations. Sonic barber Jack Douglas, who produced Aerosmith in their prime and Lennon after his comeback, knows how to trim the shaggy bangs of a hard-rock record without leaving its ears sticking out nerdily. But it seems foreboding that the catchiest thing here is Lucas's most sour anthem yet about the music biz--"Rock and Roll Professionals," dedicated to has-beens who tour for the money. I hope Lucas isn't counting himself among them yet. I mean, he hasn't even had a chance to record his live double album yet.
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