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Saturday 25th of November 2017
4th of March 2013 by admin 4th of March 2013
Local Natives - Hummingbird

A review of the Local Natives' album Hummingbird, released on Infectious

Following up a career-launching debut album is never an easy task as many flounder under the pressures of their newfound fame (think MGMT with Congratulations). While the Los Angeles-based Local Natives may not have found as much mainstream attention with their debut album Gorilla Manor as MGMT did with Oracular Spectacular, it was by all standards a success due to its ability to synergise the best elements of other flourishing indie-rock bands. Hummingbird once again capitalises on these elements: soaring three-part harmonies, pulsing drums, and a velvety blend of sounds and instruments. But instead of the youthful conceit found on Gorilla Manor, their follow-up is much more introspective. The result is a well-situated sophomore album; no drastic changes to their catchy formula, yet it’s different enough to keep the band moving forward. The song “Black Spot”, for example, is a first-person account of someone dying, sung over a trembling piano. The sounds eventually build to a cathartic climax as the person accepts his doomed fate. Or consider the heartbreaking “Columbia”, where lead vocalist Kelcey Ayer sings to his late mother “Every night I ask myself/Am I giving enough?” over a slow, melodic piano, subtle guitar fills, and wistful harmonies. But Local Natives are at their most enticing when manipulating tension through sudden pauses and slow, determined builds. On “Heavy Feet”, the band’s second single, the sudden suspension of the marching drums and percussive claps that had propelled the song forward make for an irresistibly uplifting final chorus when they do eventually re-enter. With Hummingbird, Local Natives confirm that they are not simply a conglomeration of their peers but a creative force in their own right. The darker themes on this album seem to suggest that they have indeed grown up, and it would seem that their timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

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