This week’s lookback comes from the LA indie rock outfit Local Natives. Gorilla Manor is the band’s self-funded debut album that did remarkably well with favorable reviews spanning from Pitchfork to the LA Times.
“[Local Natives] is a rare band that can use its chemistry as its own instrument. But the young, frightfully accomplished Local Natives are a rare L.A. band indeed.” – August Brown of the LA Times
“Local Natives take ownership of [Gorilla Manor], fully integrating what might have been an incompatible hard left turn into the record’s seamless whole.” – Ian Cohen of Pitchfork
Gorilla Manor starts off with the perfect intro track “Wide Eyes”, a track that is ultimately held together by the smooth lyrics of lead vocalist Taylor Rice, the intense pounding of the drums, and finally a phenomenal guitar riff that ties everything together.
Local Natives have a sound that you really can’t just immediately jump in and like, they’ve been compared to the likes of Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, and other major artists, but even then their music is something that grows on you with time.
One of their most popular tracks (and my personal favorite) is “Sun Hands”. The track is one giant build that ends in a great combination of loud guitars and drums, but what I love the most about it is right before the so-called “explosion of sound” when all of the band members yell the chorus over and over almost as a transition to what was ahead.
The rest of the album can span from “psychedelic indie folk” to something that faintly reminisces Vampire Weekend’s rhythm and Jack Steadman (of Bombay Bicycle Club)’s vocal style.
Songs like “Camera Talk” and “Airplanes” have that catchy indie rock feel that can be described as more “mainstream” in a sense, but then there are tracks like “Cards & Quarters” that have a completely different vibe than the majority of the sound heard on the album. Some tracks I definitely recommend are “Cubism Dream” (which includes some great lead vocals), “Who Knows Who Cares”, and “World News”.
For an album that was self-released and recorded, its pretty damn good. Yes, the band does lack some maturity, but one needs to keep in mind that since then the band has released their follow up titled Hummingbird which released in 2013. Gorilla Manor was a great beginning for the LA natives, and I’m looking forward to see what they accomplish in the future.