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Local Natives

Hummingbird

Local Natives
8
The stereotypical sound we now perceive as "indie-rock" has become a narrow range of guitar- and harmony-driven melodies that veer close to the realm of today's pop music, yet is accessible to both the masses and the buzz blog enthusiasts. Acts such as Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes are prime examples. L.A. quintet-turned-quartet Local Natives sat alongside these contemporaries in 2010 when they released their acclaimed debut, Gorilla Manor, which erupted with a frenzy of rhythms and percussion, earworm riffs and energetic harmonies that called for your attention. Their follow-up, Hummingbird, faces the challenge of meeting expectations while simultaneously keeping our attention, with little wiggle room in this genre they've been lumped into. On the surface, it sounds like Local Natives have dialled down those sunshine bursts of joyous chants and guitars, and, for the most part, there are fewer handclaps and the harmonies are more subdued. But the nuances instilled by producer Aaron Dessner (of the National) have added depth and polish, stripping away some elements. In their place are songs that unravel with more emotion and musical complexity than their predecessors. "Heavy Feet" is a steady charge that still showcases the band's penchant for rhythms, whereas opening track "You & I" ushers you into the album like it's washing you ashore from Gorilla Manor. This isn't the boldest step forward, but it looks like Local Natives are on a steady ascent and Hummingbird is sure to solidify them as one of the best indie-rock bands out there today. (Frenchkiss)

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