Indianapolis Star review

"Here Comes the Zoo," Palm Pictures.

Reviewed by staff writer David Lindquist Three Stars-***

Scott Lucas can't shake his incurable allegiance to rock 'n' roll. The Local H mastermind lost a drummer (the only other job in his duo) and major-label affiliation after the release of Pack Up the Cats, a surprising firestarter of an album from 1998.

He returns with Here Comes the Zoo, a sweaty slab of perseverance that burrows deep into the traditions of AC/DC and the Stooges.

Zoo is an unabashed sequel to Cats, which can be interpreted in a couple of ways. Either Local H really appreciates AC/DC's career-long example of not tinkering with a winning formula, or Lucas is mailing it in. ("You know me, I've got nowhere to be," he sings during Zoo track Son of 'Cha!')

Let's go with the former, because the album as a whole burns too brightly to be the result of half-heartedness. Lucas also dabbles in new effects -- piano and strings on Hands on the Bible and a female guest vocalist on 5th Ave. Crazy -- that signal an honest effort.

Momentarily lifting his head out of rock's gutter (his favorite songwriting muse), Lucas observes working-class stiffs (Half-Life) and "relationships" (Keep Your Girlfriend and Baby Wants to Tame Me).

Of course, Lucas tells the most truths when he writes what he knows. He skewers an industry that doesn't care (Rock & Roll Professionals) and offers empathy (or self-pity?) for musicians who care too much (What Would You Have Me Do?). Both tracks appear on Zoo's expansive second half, which rides the lightning between grunge and stoner rock.