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4.3 out of 5 stars
Gorilla Manor
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.5 stars

Do you ever find yourself putting put on an album listening to it only once and yet knowing that it is good and going to get better? A rare occurrence admittedly but one which you will experience with the wonderful "Gorilla Manor". The Wolf has comprehensively captured in his excellent review the various elements of what makes this album special. Clearly there are references to the Fleet Foxes, indeed the warm cover version of Talking Heads "Warning Sign" displays the wonderful harmonies so beloved of our bearded Seattle chums. Local Natives are nevertheless not the "Fleet Foxes lite" an accusation which has been bandied around in some reviews. In fact there is so much diversity in this album that in large parts it is a genuinely intriguing and uncategorisable affair. Check out the joyous single "Camera Talk" which owes as much to the Beach Boys, Bens Fold five and even Vampire Weekend. "Shapeshiter" one of the albums highlights with its searing harmonies and its gradually building force packs a huge punch. A key feature of this song is the hyperactive drumming of Matt Frazier and (I don't believe I'm about to say this) the excellent lead vocalist Taylor Rice does sometimes sound like a much rockier version of Jon Anderson of Yes which is the strangest compliment I have ever paid.

Throughout the album has a feel of summer and the sort of effervescence in songs which end up swimming around the listener's head for weeks at a time and make you constantly revisit the album. The two most guilty culprits in this regard are "Wide Eyes" with its great guitar backdrop making it probably the most rock based song on the album but all the time those harmonies are a tight as Alastair Darlings recent budget. "Sun Hands" is the albums ultimate highlight. Its worth checking out on the net the reviews of this band at this years SXSW 2010 festival where for the second year in a row they again stole the show and it is with "Sun Hands" that they encore. It has that quality common to great songs of the duality of complexity and simplicity at the same time. Listen to it on headphones and the layers reveal themselves and Taylor Rice's vocal absolutely nail the song from the opening where he sings -

"I climbed to the top of a hill
But I had just missed the sun
And although the descending arc was gone
Left behind were the traces that always follow along"

For the other songs read the reviews by Wolf and Mr Chinaski where they capture the all round quality of this album. Its probably not perfect and both "Sticky Thread" and "Cubism Dream" don't really push many buttons for me. A small point not be dwelled upon since quite rightly this East L.A. quintet are generating huge interest and it is a credit to the UK listeners that the album was taken up here where they signed to Infectious and released Gorilla Manor a good four months before it appeared in their homeland. All in all "Gorilla Manor" is an album which will repay repeated listens with a series of rich songs and three part harmonies to die for.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Other reviews have been quite thorough so no need to waffle. A really wonderful album, this. Vocal melodies are sweet and harmonies are spot on. Instrumentation is faultless and the album is simultaneously playful, heartbreaking and uplifting. Reminiscent of The Arcade Fire, Beach Boys Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes if you're looking for a reference point. A really superb album, standout tracks (for me) are: 'Who Knows Who Cares'(The video for which pretty much sums up their whole sound), 'Sun Hands' and 'Wide Eyes.'
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Abso-blinkin-lutely loving this every-which-way.
You're going to love it too. Promise.

As incandescent a bunch of songs as I've heard this year and
there are a whole healthy dozen of them to be getting on with.

Local Natives hail from Silverlake, California, U.S.A.

They are Taylor Rice (guitar/vocals), Kelcey Ayer (keyboards/vocals),
Ryan Hahn (guitar/vocals), Andy Hamm (bass) and Matt Frazier (drums)
and together they make a distinctive and beautiful sound.

This is tricky stuff to pin-down so I'll leave it for someone more
gifted in the realms of genre sub-divisions to fix this for us later.

What I found here transcends genre in so many ways.

It is BIG music. Heart-warming music. Enveloping and uplifting music.
The melodies are complex and absorbing; the singing fresh and vividly alive.
These young gentlemen are creating sounds of true substance!

You could plunge in anywhere really and be lifted up by the pure
energy and enthusiasm of their committed performances.

Let me tell you about a few of these wonderful compositions.

'Camera Talk' manages to combine a viscerally raw rhythm,
under-produced and untainted in the best possible way, with
an intoxicating melody and delicious vocal harmonies.
The high-flying violin lifts the energy straight through the roof.

The spirit of CSN&Y lives on in 'Cards and Quarters'.
Mr Frazier's drums hold down a strong but simple beat
around which the song unfolds in evermore complex layers.
The last chiming chord hangs in the air like the aftertaste
of a half-remembered dream.

There is a dream-like quality running through much of this album.

'Airplanes' is unquestionably one of the project's finest compositions.
Good-humoured and uplifting in equal measure, I found myself completely
(and willingly) swept away by the ensemble's prodigious musicality.

'Sun Hands' has so much passion it is at risk of spontaneously combusting
and 'World News' is chock-full of a jolly kind of goodness rarely captured
by any band in any time you might care to imagine. Joyful, rapturous stuff!

I'll shut up now !
It's good. It's very, very good ! It's the kind of music to make all of our
lives just a little bit richer and more bearable.

(Oh Heck! Sorry I just can't help it.....'Shape Shifter' made just about
every hair on my body - from nose to tail - stand to attention!)

I stumbled upon this truly inspiring little band entirely by accident.

Trust me on this one - it's glorious stuff !

Essential.
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VINE VOICEon 5 July 2010
I only discovered this band for myself a month ago when I was planning my Glastonbury Festival timetable and saw that they were playing at the Queen's Head on the Thursday night. I decided to go along, having heard just a couple of their songs on MySpace.

I instantly fell in love with their Fleet Foxes-inspired harmonies and summery Californian melodies. In fact, I enjoyed their Thursday night set so much that I decided to catch them again at The Park stage on the Friday. Staggeringly, they sounded even better through a larger P.A.

For the most part, their album 'Gorilla Manor' feels like it can't (and doesn't) put a foot wrong. Only towards the very end of the album for me did it tail off slightly, but this is a very minor flaw. Maybe if they'd left 'Stranger Things' and 'Sticky Thread' off the tracklisting, I'd have possibly awarded it 5 stars, I don't know. Anyway, the point is that it's a fabulous listen and you can easily finding yourself pressing the repeat button several times in one sitting.

There are many highlights, but the singles 'Airplanes' (with its fabulous 'I want you back!!' singalong chorus), 'Camera Talk', 'Sun Hands' and 'World News' are all instant classics. There's also a rather excellent Talking Heads cover ('Warning Sign') too.

If more people get to hopefully hear their music, I easily believe that they could be playing venues the size of Manchester Apollo & Brixton Academy this time next year. The album will definitely appeal to fans of Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend and Death Cab For Cutie.

If ever there was a 'No-Risk Disc', then this is it. You won't be disappointed.
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This album has stayed in my cd player and has been constantly on my mp3 player since its arrival. Sounds like a more uplifting/summery Grizzly Bear. Touches of crosby stills, fleetwood mac, fleet foxes and the like. Great vocal harmony and textural sounds throughout.
First 3 songs are the best and the Talking Heads cover is a treat aswell although all songs have something to offer. Well worth your money especially as its cheap at the moment! Just a shame that they dont have a back catalogue or other releases.
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on 24 May 2010
This album just gets better and better with every listen and its not often these days you put an album on for the first time and it gets you. I've heard them talked about in the same company as fleet foxes which is sort of understandable but i would have to say as much as i like the fleet foxes i think this album is even better. I haven't given it 5 stars because i think you have to leave some room for a little improvement but this is seriously one of the best albums i've heard so far this year.
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on 23 April 2010
This is a really well put together album. Unlike Grizzly Bear who rely more on atmosphere, this record feels really light and far more listen-able. There is a lot more focus on melodies and beautiful harmonies with the textures of folk and indie rock blending incredibly well. What I would say is my only gripe is the bonus DVD that comes with the limited edition, it's just them performing in front of a camera not even miced up. Pretty poor. Apart from that, it's terrific.
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on 29 November 2010
Saw them life in brighton, and they are soo much better live than what their cd produced, but its still amazing. if your not sure about buying this or not, just listen to cubism dreams, airplanes, sun hands, warning sign (talking heads cover), on youtube, and hey if you don't want it I will be pretty surprised!

Such a good album, can suit all my moods, good for relaxing, then a few for bobbing your head....get it!
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on 22 October 2013
Came across these guys for the first time live at Greenman Festival 2013. Gutted it's taken me a few years to get on to listening to this. It's very original, quirky writing, and I had bought the newer album first, but I think this one is my favorite of the two. Highly recommend.
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on 12 September 2013
I discovered the band by way of their second record Hummingbird, and I really love this record. 2009's Gorilla Manor took a second listen before I got it, as I was expecting another Hummingbird.

It is however an outstanding debut record.
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