Local Natives – Gorilla Manor

This L.A. band’s album debuted last week, but it’s taken me some time to discern my true feelings about the music – after numerous plays over the weekend, I’ve decided I like them. Gorilla Manor, both aesthetically and lyrically is nothing new, but that serves this record well.  They fully embrace the rustic young rock band approach that has been brought to the forefront by the harmonious Fleet Foxes and the driving rock of Band of Horses. In fact, I think Local Natives sound a lot like both of these bands. This album is full of light and life, though there is a sense of sadness and longing in the lyrics and vocal inflections. Local Natives are a surprisingly tight band for this stage in their careers and they stick to their sound with a confidence that makes up for the lack of originality. My favorite song on the album so far is “Sun Hands” (as I write that I can’t help but feel it sounds like a Fleet Foxes title), but the entire first half of the album is very strong. “Camera Talk” starts out like a gritty Spoon song, but as the strings enter, you realize that Local Natives are doing their own thing, though perhaps it is in a way that is based heavily on borrowing from their peers. A highlight on the back half of the album comes in the form of a Talking Heads cover, “Warning Signs.” Gorilla Manor is definitely entertaining on the first spin, and I’ve been surprised at how much the melodies and voices have grown on me with each listen.

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