Review | Local Natives – Hummingbird
by Courtney Leigh Allen, is originally from Seattle but now writes, lives and paints in the great city of Boston, Massachusetts.
In 2010, LA-based Local Natives released their debut record, Gorilla Manor, named after the house that the five bandmates shared in Orange County. With songs like Airplanes and World News, the guys showed that it was possible to balance their youth (lots of yelling and hyperactive drums) with craft (beautiful harmonies and fantastic storytelling in their songwriting). Gorilla Manor was youthful and fun, and it worked.
It’s been three years and it seems that the guys have grown up. For every story that Gorilla Manor told, Hummingbird hits on the emotion and growth since then. Lyrically, the songs are much more simple, packing twice as much emotion into half the lines. The hyperactive drums remain, but a lot of the clapping and shouting has been traded in for droning sirens and quiet chimes.
The album’s first single, Breakers, is a panic attack in the course of a song. From the very beginning, sirens circle in and out, like a lighthouse rotating on a foggy evening, from land to sea and back again. The sound peaks around these siren calls, but the guys are trying to calm the storm. “Breathing out, hoping to breathe in. I know nothing’s wrong but I’m not convinced.”
There’s tangible emotion in every single one of the songs on Hummingbird, but both Mt. Washington and Columbia bear most of the weight. On Mt. Washington, Ayer repeats, again and again, “I don’t have to see you right now,” as if he just needs to say it one more time and it’ll be true. On Columbia, the question is “am I giving enough?” and “am I loving enough?” Nobody seems to be too sure of the answer.
Most of what made Gorilla Manor a great album is gone in Hummingbird. And weirdly enough, not only does Hummingbird work, but it is a gorgeous album that showcases Local Natives’ tremendous growth and talent. If you haven’t already give it a listen, we can’t recommend it enough.
The guys will stop by the House of Blues in Boston on March 30th. The show will sell out, so grab your tickets soon! And for the full list of tour dates, check out www.thelocalnatives.com