Local Natives’ new album hosts fresh heartwarming harmonies
Hummingbird is causing a buzz among SoCal indie-rock fans
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Local Natives introduced us to their pleasant, harmonizing modulations back in 2009 through their magnum opus, Gorilla Manor. The Southern California-based indie-rock collective dished out a contemplative effort while establishing heartfelt sentiments that seemed to resonate, permeating the independent arena with memorable gems and stylistic influences. Tracks like “Airplanes” and “Wide Eyes” gave listeners a glimmer of singles that proffered jubilant and poetic essences; flashbacks to early Fleet Foxes and the layered orchestrations of Arcade Fire are imprinted throughout.
“Who Knows Who Cares,” a personal favorite, culminates the tranquility of harmonization while boasting a captivating and vindictive standpoint of the permission and accession that life seems to hand out. Within the last three years, the perseverance and obstinate avidity of Local Natives marked footprints in their repertoire as a successful band, totally conducive among their notable musicality.
2013 brings us Hummingbird, an album just as sensitive and heartwarming as the last, yet still volunteers to equip every number with poetry and pastoral harmony. Sonically, it sounds pretty much like their first — they’re still on the same path, walking hand-in-hand with patterns of roulades and sympathetic gestures.
However, different avenues and shortcuts are taken this time around, insinuating a surprising take on innovation and familiarity. Hummingbird showcases overwhelming cuts of rhythm and an emotional spectrum that feeds well. “You figure it out/I can’t stay/Water’s in the clouds/Is my life about to change?” conveys the adolescent malaise of Gorilla Manor while their sophomore attempt strives to realize it.
Lyrically, they indicate worship of composure and confidence, a more direct take on things since 2009. Loving words fused with exhilarating and bothered molds span out the former part of the album while the latter focuses on a sense of degradation, pieces of the puzzle not seeming to fit. The opener “You and I” disparages a troubled relationship, yet still manages to express adoration in the lyrics “You and I, we were always strong/It was enough to keep me on, believe me/Then I woke up with my green eyes blue/And all I think about is you.”
The sweetly sung “Ceilings” is a two-minute track devoted to remembering the good times, shunning away all the negativity through an anthem crooning “All my silver dreams bring me to you.” The record progresses to a more direct and sensual level as “Black Balloon” digresses to terms of nostalgia and wanderlust. “Wooly Mammoth” conveys the elegiac punctuality of sorrow and defeat, all pertinent to instances we tend to find ourselves caught up with.
But, with all aforementioned templates of lyrical prowess aside, Hummingbird reaches its climax on track 10, “Columbia,” a song which the band stated, “was very important to us.” The chorus asks “Am I loving enough?/Oh, every night I ask myself/Am I?” while the verses rely on a faculty of expectation, the kinesthesia of repentance (If you never knew how much/If you never felt all of my love/I pray now you do, you do, you do, you do).
While various nuances of love and misfortune are injected among these 11 tracks, the lyrical wordplay and content prove to be nothing short of the sum of their influences: cathartic.
The production, lyrics, sound and culture of Local Natives offers a more conventional point-of-view for Hummingbird while the commonalities between 2009’s Gorilla Manor are still recognized and acknowledged. With their music and growth both marked by flawless honesty, this sophomore release conjures tremendous moments of affection and the sweet disposition of reality and the silver linings ingrained within.
There’s a sense of subtlety in Local Natives, scattered by the enigma of poetry and wistfulness of a memory or relationship. And, while those pieces remain scattered, it’s inevitable for us to relate: picking up the pieces of the puzzle and making them fit.