One of my favorite bands that came out the last couple years was Los Angeles-based quintet Local Natives. With their five-part choir boy harmonies and baroque indie pop sensibilities, the most appropriate description for them would be Grizzly Bear with a West Coast vibe mixed with the folky stirrings of Fleet Foxes. There was a freshness and unrestrained joy to their 2010 debut record Gorilla Manor that I enjoyed immensely and made me want to seek more.
Well, the wait is over. Local Natives are readying their sophomore record Hummingbird. With it come a number of changes. For one, the band is now a quartet, having lost bassist Andy Hamm. They have also moved across the coast to Brooklyn to record the new album under the watch of The National’s Aaron Dessner. This is a win situation for me, as I loved The National.
Hummingbird is an undeniably beautiful record. Recording in a proper studio have allowed the band to be sonically fuller and bigger in their production. In a way, the band has moved away for their folky beginnings and has focused more on being a full-on band. The spotlight is now on Kelcey Ayer as he takes up more of the starring singing role (Taylor Rice has picked up the bass duties). And while there is a loss of the immediacy and raucous impromptu-ness from Gorilla Manor (think of the opening moans and howls of Airplanes – things which I do admittedly missed), this is to be expected for a band that is moving up the next step in their evolution. Hummingbird is the logical progression to Gorilla Manor.
Even with the highest expectation bearing upon it, I fully enjoyed Hummingbird. Even better, I sense a lot of grower potential on it.
Check out the video for the standout first single Breakers embedded below.
Local Natives – Hummingbird come out 1/29 via Frenchkiss (order here)