8/10 Andrew Revis Customer review, 12th February 2014
Local Natives’ debut album, Gorilla Manor, was full of international chart superhits - the likes of World News, Airplanes and Who Knows Who Cares should rightfully have made this band a household name. The problem was no one much heard these smash hits, so the band didn’t get very far. Three years later they returned with the opposite album, Hummingbird, one written and recorded as just that - an album, a body of work, a creative whole, lacking any obvious singles but plenty of outstanding moments. Hummingbird follows in the modern tradition of Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, Modest Mouse and My Morning Jacket - bands taking traditional conceptions of Americana and playing with them, modernising them, producing a sound flitting between LA’s Canyon scene of the 1960s and 70s and instant, hooky modern radio bangers. What Local Natives - themselves LA boys - specialise in is blissful pop songs with incredible vocals. The wondrous Beach Boy harmonies from the band’s three multi-instrumentalists/frontmen Kelcey Ayer, Tayor Rice and Ryan Hahn, are here potently flexed on Black Balloons and Wooly Mammoth - think The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Love, even Frank Zappa. But it is on Three Months and the spectacular Colombia that Ayer’s celestial vocals really grab you. “Every night I ask myself, ‘Am I giving enough?’” he pleads in the latter, a love letter to his dear departed mother, Patricia (the album is dedicated to her, ‘you crazy Colombian’). Some may note, fairly, that the album is produced to within an inch of its life (by The National’s Aaron Dessner), but it is just as easy to call it the perfect Sunday record, glacially-paced and supremely smooth, rumbling slowly from one track’s peak to the next, then back to rest.
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- Hummingbird by Local Natives
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