Frenchkiss Records – January 29th 2013
By Elyse Hill (@elyselikeswords)
Find it at: iTunes | Insound | HMV Digital
With album art that creates a sharp contrast of awe-inspiring heights against the reality of cold concrete, it comes with no surprise that the interior of Local Natives’ sophomore album Hummingbird can make you feel the same division. The L.A. based band doesn’t just match emotionally jam-packed lyricism with distraught piano chords and effervescent melodies – they labour it to you – kicking you to the ground just when floating summer daydreams (“Ceilings”) have you thinking you can overcome the struggle to stand. It’s just once you regain your balance, ballads of blindsiding heartbreak (“Colombia”) and imminent death (“Black Spot”) quickly bring you back to your knees.
But it’s not all tears and catharsis on Hummingbird. For repeated images of youth and growth, Local Natives find a way to wrap it over reserved sentiments and two-and-three-part harmonies like “Breakers”, which pull you out of the sorrow-filled slump the band so gently tucked you into before. If you find yourself naively believing the foursome will provide some sort of a glimmering resolution in the midst of loss and sadness, you might be overlooking the realism behind the group’s powerful take on songwriting and instrumentation. As vocalist Kelcey Ayer exposes on “Bowery”, the melancholy touch to it all is an affordable escape. “I can’t tell if the ceilings rising or if the floor is falling out” he admits, offering an empty promise of hope that’s as fleeting as a passing hummingbird.
Listen: “You & I”, “Black Balloon”, “Colombia” || Watch: Local Natives – “Breakers”