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Hummingbird is the second album from Los Angeles indie rockers Local Natives, following their hugely acclaimed debut Gorilla Manor (2009). The album was produced by The National's Aaron Dessner, and features the single "Breakers".
Hummingbird is a first for Local Natives in a number of ways. Following well-received debut Gorilla Manor in 2009, it is the first album the band has made without bassist Andy Hamm, who split from the group in 2011. It’s the first to have been recorded outside of their native California, and also marks the first time they have worked with an outside producer.
Following a support tour with The National, the quartet was drawn to the idea of escaping the distractions of their home state. They decamped to the New York home studio of (The National’s) Aaron Dessner – the same place that Sharon Van Etten recorded her breakout album, 2012’s Tramp.
The result is a bolder, brighter record than their debut: from the confident slow-burn of opener You & I to its skin-tingling finale, Hummingbird feels bigger and more serious than Gorilla Manor in just about every way. Arcade Fire were another band Local Natives opened for while touring their first album, and the cumulative effect of sharing stages with indie rock heavyweights such as these has palpably seeped into their approach.
Which brings us to the chief criticism likely to be levelled at Hummingbird: the nagging sensation that, for all the talent and poise on display here, Local Natives still don’t sound like completely their own band. The clattering Breakers is a case in point: it eddies, swells and teeters toward the magnificent, but ultimately recalls almost any of the songs on Arcade Fire’s Funeral too much to truly make an impact.
When the band come on strong, though, the effect is undeniable. Colombia is a moving highlight, written for a member’s mother who passed away last year; Wooly Mammoth is as relentless as Three Months is unexpectedly serene; while Bowery splices myriad influences into a disarmingly powerful kiss-off.
By and large a success, in Hummingbird Local Natives throw all they have at their songs and tend to come up with the goods on the other side. Had they taken a few more steps into uncharted territory, mind, this could have been something spectacular, rather than the very solid set that it is.
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Top Customer Reviews
Saw them at the Greenman Festival this year, they were amazing live. 5 star nugget.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must listen. This is their second album which is a lot different from the first but brilliant all the same. Get itPublished on 2 Dec. 2013 by easyas123
This is one of the records that keeps growing om you!...and if you ever get the chance go watch these guys livePublished on 6 Nov. 2013 by Bo Brodersen
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... Read morePublished on 28 Oct. 2013 by Volt & Volume
Brilliant absolutely fantastic album. Really looking forward to their next album whenever that may be. So pleased I came across this band!Published on 18 Sept. 2013 by M.Jane Bradley
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. Read morePublished on 13 Jun. 2013 by P. Smith
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.Published on 25 May 2013 by Mark S
I love this album, not a bad song on it.
The vinyl also came with a voucher code to download an MP3 version of the album for free which was a bonus.
this is a great album. honestly its worth buying and i like to have cds physically so yeah thats about it reallyPublished on 1 April 2013 by The Lyons Family