LA-based indie rock quartet Local Natives, recently released their highly anticipated sophomore effort, Hummingbird. This record is the first new material we’ve heard from the band since their wildly successful 2009 release, Gorilla Manor. During the four-year interim, the band was far from idle, touring incessantly and supporting the likes of The National, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Arcade Fire. The break in recording wasn’t all ice cream and rainbows though, as 2011 saw the departure of founding member and bass player Andy Haim. Unfortunately, the band also dealt with some personal health issues and the death of front man Kelcey Ayer’s mother.
These obstacles obviously provided much of the material for the band’s latest effort. The 10th track on the album, “Columbia,” which is written about the passing of Ayer’s mother, is by far my favorite. One of the lines even explains the namesake of the album. I love this particular track so much because it is wrought with such powerful emotion yet it is very simple and transparent.
Another notable track for me was “Breakers.” Recorded with the talent of Aaron Dessner of The National on bass, it also conveys a personal and reflective tone, all while being extremely melodic.
Overall, this album is first and foremost quite complex. It took me a good 7 or 8 listens to really grasp, absorb and appreciate all that was going on. This is the kind of record where a different song will catch you each time… and each time a new one strikes your fancy, you’ll need to go look up the lyrics and listen again immediately.