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Local Natives find growth in tragedy on ‘Hummingbird’

“Hummingbird” – Local Natives

8 out of 10

By Brendan Bohannon ’14

Three years removed from their critically acclaimed record “Gorilla Manor,” Local Natives made leaps in developing their sound and releasing their best album yet, “Hummingbird.”

The band managed to keep their striking ability of creating an organized yet chaotic sound while refining the best facets of their music.

“Gorilla Manor” could best be described as a high energy album that captures the mentality of youth that only five young men could create.

But as their sound has developed, so have they.

They lost bassist Andy Hamm in 2011 and described the split as heartbreaking.

However, another heartbreaking loss would occur when vocalist Kelcey Ayer lost his mother. This would be the driving force behind the track “Colombia,” one of the band’s highest moments.

It is quite lyrically frank, as Ayer addresses his late mother: “If you never felt all of my love/ I pray now you do.”

He later questions how he lives his life: “Am I giving enough?/ Am I?/ Am I loving enough?”

The National’s Aaron Dessner replaces Hamm as a temporary fifth member of the band and contributes to songwriting, earning production credit along with other artist-turned-producers such as Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla and TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek.

There is nothing instantly recognizable about their efforts of producing except for the fact that they manage to create an internal thread that seems to tie every song together, making the album sound united.

The peak of the album is “Mt. Washington.” The track builds from the guitar riff adding in piano, drums and heavy synth leads.

The theme of the entire album is that every song has eloquent lyrics that strike emotions. Other high points include the first single “Breakers,” a high energy song that captures their definitive sound; the short but beautifully performed “Ceilings”; and the outro track “Bowery.”

“Hummingbird” is a giant step for the band’s development as people.

They are beginning to address deeper issues in their lives, which correlates to blossoming into their own entity.

After “Gorilla Manor” experts said that the band was trying to emulate the sound of bands such as The Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend and Grizzly Bear.

With “Hummingbird,” the band takes a huge step in tossing their name in with those bands.


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