I’m always behind England.
The Guardian named Local Natives as their New Band of the Day last March. To be fair, their record “Gorilla Manor” only hit the United States this February, and to be even more fair, my torrent-hunting friend Jimmy didn’t point them out to me until this week.
They’re confusing to me. It’s like they’re channeling the awesome parts of so many different sounds that their vision isn’t entirely clear, if there is one at all. This doesn’t mean that they’re not worth a listen, though. Local Natives will surprise you just when you think they’re yet another wannabe ArcadeFireBandofHorses-amalgam. I mean … they are, but they spark a few moments of originality in the process that are worth checking out.
This track isn’t always pretty, but it’s poignant nonetheless. It starts with a Coldplay-esque (and therefore slightly cliché) keyboard intro, but as soon as you hear the singer, you’ll start thinking Fleet Foxes instead. The problem is that no one does Fleet Foxes better than them. The slightly upbeat tone of the song doesn’t make it special, either – instead it just sounds like High School Musical collided with Animal Collective. And the repetition of the line “I want you back” just made it all a little indie Backstreet’s Back. The song epitomizes the great failure of Local Natives: they encapsulate a certain tone and genre of music but they don’t add very much to the genre.
“Who Knows Who Cares”
This is the spot on the album where the harmonies and genuine vocal talent of the singers comes out. It sounds wholly distinct from the rest of the album, combining a deep soulful sound with snappy drums. Though the lyrics leave plenty to be desired, this track proves that the band might have something special in them on top of their ability to mimic their contemporaries. There’s a melancholy feel to this ballad that seems more genuine than all of the other tracks combined because this track is where Local Natives actually gave us a chance to hear them at their most musically and emotionally vulnerable.
This is just begging to be on Wes Anderson’s next soundtrack. Though the vocals sound a bit early 2000s pop-punk, the intro is lovely. There’s still a shadow of other bands hanging over this track (it sounds like a slightly poppier, modern Fleet Foxes), but they take some risks here, with a few moments of barer vocal harmonies uninterrupted by the layers of drums. The album seems to mature up until this point, with this track as its culmination, as it moves from the youthful energy of “Wide Eyes” to the musings of “Stranger Things.”