Album review for Local Natives’ album Hummingbird originally published to Incite Magazine on May 8th, 2013
Almost a year after the sneaky message graced the homepage of the Local Natives’ website (“We are making a new record.”), the built-up anticipation has finally ended. The follow-up to their debut album, Gorilla Manor, Local Natives decides to take a more serious approach to their sound with January 2013’s Hummingbird. Composed of eleven songs, the album is a series of tunes that seem to lack a strong drum influence, unlike their previous album. Instead, listeners experience lead singer and guitarists Taylor Rice and Kelsey Ayer experiment with their vocal ranges. The opening track, “You & I,” begins with powerful high notes and extends to “Three Months,” comprised of almost entirely falsetto notes.
In fact, a majority of the album presents a series of powerful vocal notes and falsetto, adding onto the talent that the two already displayed with their frequent use of harmonies in Gorilla Manor. Despite the slower tempo in these tracks, one can look forward to something a bit faster and toe-tapping with “Black Balloons” and “Breakers.”
The hit single off the album, “Breakers,” music video features glittering, aesthetically pleasing shots combined with members of the band rolling “backwards” up hills.
Overall, listeners can expect a different tone throughout the entire album. However, this does not deter from their sound. Despite the serious tones, Local Natives still puts full heart into each track. The instrumentals may take a less orchestral tone than Gorilla Manor, but it does not transform them into any other sort of band otherwise. Playing this album, I cannot doubt that it still has traces of a classic sound that they have created all within one album. Hummingbird utilizes this sound as an opportunity to experiment with darker moods, while still staying true to Local Natives’ feel. Listeners, purchase this album in hard cover. Elaborate artwork, packaging, and harmonies await you.