Yesterday Local Natives premiered a streaming of their sophomore album Hummingbird in its entirety on iTunes six days before its release. Without fail I halted all real responsibilities and immediately attended to this in the tragic event it had a time restriction. Two of the record’s singles had already dropped prior including “Heavy Feet” and “Breakers” as an appetizer for fans everywhere. It’s safe to say these Orange County gone Brooklyn hipsters are not too bent about the departure of their bassist Ryan Hamm, and are instead focused on young adult struggles, lust, and the passing of lead singer Taylor Rice’s mother on the track “Colombia”.
Exploring comfort zones is an underlying theme as they travel to New York from California to work with The National’s Aaron Dessner who produced the album. They are no longer a playful and hopeful indie band frolicking on the beach and riding the wave. They’ve broken through into the music sphere and Hummingbird asks the question of “Well, where the hell do we go from here?”. The track “Ceilings” is most apparent in this uneasy evolution with a quintessential coming of age stanza “Hold the summer in your hands/’Til the summer turns to sand/ We were staring at our ceilings/ Thinking of what we’d give to have one more day of sun”.
Local Natives has aged and it shows via the deeper drums, increase in ambient synths, and lack of silliness as heard on their first album Gorilla Manor. Songs like “Black Balloons” and “Mt. Washington” radiate Fleet Foxes and what it’s like to be dumbfounded by nature and mankind all at once. Although their two albums are distinct, there are many similarities including, but not limited to: emotional out-of-body experiential vocals, a song about a dead relative (Rice’s mother on “Colombia” vs guitarist Kelcey Ayer’s grandfather on “Airplanes”), and an overall optimistic attitude. I’m not quite sure what this band will unfold into, but Hummingbird is a definite mature stepping-stone in the right direction, and we should all respect their patience in becoming a great band. More music will most likely follow this album as they ripen and expand even further.
Make sure to pick up the album in-stores on January 29th and catch them at the Neptune on Brooklyn & 45th April 26th.
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