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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Local Natives - No longer restless, 30 Jan. 2013
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hummingbird (Audio CD)
Hummingbird" represents the sound of a band coming of age and stretching out. Local Natives debut album "Gorilla Manor" charmed many a cold heart and the band members Taylor Rice (guitar/vocals), Kelcey Ayer (keyboards/vocals), Ryan Hahn (guitar/vocals), Andy Hamm (bass) and Matt Frazier (drums) have reconvened determined to prove that that there is plenty of milage in the tank and that this band of Californian minstrels are a true force. In a thoughtful review the BBC view of this album is ultimately that it represents a disappointment arguing that "could have been something spectacular, rather than the very solid set that it is". Frankly this reviewer can only issue a loud and formal disagreement. Granted the album does have echoes of Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes, but its certainly not derivative. What it does show is meticulous craftsmanship and that Ayer in particular is becoming a songwriter capable of articulating the deepest emotions in fine melodic style. No where is more apparent than on the fine opener "You and I" which builds throw pounding drums into a beast of a song with a searing vocal by Ayer and a melody that pulls you in like dust to a Dyson. This splendid start sets a trend on "Hummingbird" namely a general feeling of stately elegance as opposed to the instant gratification of their debut. It is because of this that this album does take more concentrated work and harder listens but the rewards are richer. For example the opening single "Breakers" is not really a standout on first listens sounding like it could have been located on Arcade Fire's "Funeral" (Local Natives have of course supported them on tour) with similar drum patterns to that used by the great Canadians. Time however reveals a song full of texture and longing whilst building to a furious crescendo.

The presence of Aaron Dessner of The National to co-produce this album also plays a big part, One clear standout is "Heavy Feet" a song which does have that rolling thunder of drums associated with Cincinnati's finest and one can imagine Matt Berninger doing a much deeper classic baritone cover of this. In terms of sheer beauty it is "Ceilings" that really grabs your lapels from first listen and doesn't let go and here more than most other tracks we are listening to the Local Natives own distinctive darker sound. "Colombia" will inevitably draw some comparison to the songwriting skills of Thom Yorke with its almost Radiohead like start, this can be easily forgiven when we discover the track was written after the death of Ayer's mother and the raw vocal and emotion that underpins it is a thing of wonder as he questions "Am I loving enough". It is the bands finest song to date by a country mile. There are a couple of missteps with "Three Months" sounding disjointed and the Jeff Buckley style vocal grating by the songs conclusion. Equally the jury is out on "Wholly Mammoth", which does irritatingly remind this reviewer of a Yes song, but its early days after all. These slips are however forgiven with the lovely acoustic strum of "Mt Washington" which does put some real distance between the sound on their debut and is a fine track.

Finally its worth seeking out the Deluxe version of the album which contains three extra tracks "Palms" "11-11" and Ingrid". It is the almost hymnal quality of the middle song "11-11" which impresses most and conjures images of summer days and perfect sunsets. Overall then it is a rare pleasure to report significant progression and promise fulfilled by a band that have oozed class since stepping onto the musical stage. in the last analysis listen and learn to love the big closer "Bowery" and ever so quietly blow a polite raspberry at the BBC review. Hummingbird is out now on Infectious label - how appropriate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mid-atlantic feel on an excellent new album, 31 Mar. 2013
By 
Martin Fielding (Findon, West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hummingbird (Audio CD)
There was a time when American bands seemed so different from the bands that we Brits produced - the Velvets, The Residents, Television, Pere Ubu, Talking Heads, The B52s, The Pixies, REM, Sonic Youth all seemed way ahead of the game - of course at the same time we produced the likes of Roxy Music, Joy Division, The Cure and The Smiths but they never seemed quite so sophisticated or knowing in the same way. And then sometime during 1990s we seemed to catch up or perhaps in some ways, at least with Americana, the US regressed (in a good way) and the identities became less well defined. This band are a great example of that metamorphosis - in all honesty I wouldn't have been able to tell you which side of the pond they were from without looking it up - they are from LA but they could be from Littlehampton - and it matters not one jot - what you get here are catchy songs, beautiful harmonies and interesting lyrics. Comparisons with Fleet Foxes and Arcade Fire are some way wide of the mark in my view - they sound nothing like as American (or Canadian) as those bands and this reinforces the mid-atlantic feel of this excellent album, a real progression from their first.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite New Band, 2 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Hummingbird (Audio CD)
A must listen. This is their second album which is a lot different from the first but brilliant all the same. Get it
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4.0 out of 5 stars great record, 6 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Hummingbird [12" VINYL] (Vinyl)
This is one of the records that keeps growing om you!...and if you ever get the chance go watch these guys live
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even more satisfying than their debut album, 28 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Hummingbird (Audio CD)
Local Natives are very much a "product" of their time - a distinctly modern Indie/Rock band. Singer/guitarist Taylor Rice has cited Canadian group Broken Social Scene as an influence and listening to Local Natives' busy rhythm section on many of the songs on their second album, Hummingbird, that doesn't come as much of a surprise. The sonic palette of Los Angeles-based Local Natives also contains elements of talented contemporaries such as Grizzly Bear, Beach House, and fleet foxes.

The lyrics on Hummingbird explore loss, sadness, guilt and post-crisis perseverance, inspired by the death of Kelcey Ayer's mother and the departure of bassist Andy Hamm. Produced by The National's Aaron Dessner (who co-wrote three of the tracks), Hummingbird showcases Local Natives' special chemistry through great songwriting, celestial harmonies and tight instrumental interplay.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Second Album., 29 Sept. 2013
By 
Kevin Williams "Kev" (Newport, S.Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hummingbird (Audio CD)
Absolutely loved 'Gorilla Manor', this continues in pretty much the same vain, great songwriting, they are peerless musicians too.
Saw them at the Greenman Festival this year, they were amazing live. 5 star nugget.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved this album, 18 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Hummingbird (Audio CD)
Brilliant absolutely fantastic album. Really looking forward to their next album whenever that may be. So pleased I came across this band!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Building to greatness, 13 Jun. 2013
By 
P. Smith "Pablo" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hummingbird (Audio CD)
There is a groove to this album, setting off with You and I a wonderful opener that sets the tone for an album that has both depth and ambition. Produced by Aaron Dessner of the National fame Hummingbird leans towards the epic soundscape of that band. So if you love the National you'll love Local Natives. Colombia is a fantastic track along with Breakers. Its an album I listen to frequently; Highly recommended,
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly brilliant, 27 May 2013
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This review is from: Hummingbird (Audio CD)
I came to Local Natives knowing little or nothing about them however I'd heard that Aaron Dessner of The National had produced the record and I was instantly intrigued as I'm a huge fan of The National. Also, Aaron Dessner had previously produced the little heard but uniformly excellent 'The Conformist' by Doveman.

So, what to say about Local Natives? Quite simply, they're not really like The National as the tunes are much more summery sounding but they do share that dense instrumentation that The National are so good at and much like Boxer or the recent Trouble Will Find Me, Hummingbird really does warrant repeated listens and it's a surprisingly hopeful album although death and heartbreak feature quite heavily.

If you're a fan of The Antlers or The National, then there should be something about Hummingbird that appeals to you. Gorgeous melodies and beautiful vocals make this an essential purchase and one of the best albums of 2013 along with Trouble Will Find Me and Pedestrian Verse. Give 'Breakers' or 'Heavy Feet' a whirl and you should know if this album is for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Album!, 25 May 2013
By 
Mark S (Nottingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hummingbird (Audio CD)
Absolutely love this album, these guys are totally under-rated. One of those albums you never tire to listening to, my best album so far in 2013.
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