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Local Natives
Hummingbird - INFECTIOUS/FRENCHKISS
FILTER Grade: 81%

By Nevin Martell on February 21, 2013

 

Local Natives

These Silver Lake upstarts garnered considerable—and deserved—praise for the sonorous harmonies, worldly rhythms and Cali melodies of their 2009 debut Gorilla Manor. The animalian titling fixation continues with Hummingbird: a looser, groovier, and vibier set of tunes co-produced by the band and The National’s Aaron Dessner. Like the first album, this 11-song collection slowly, but surely, works to win you over. There is an immediacy to the skittering, shimmering guitar line on the first single “Breakers” and the delicate drum work that drives “Heavy Feet,” but many of the other songs require a fourth or a fifth listen before they come into focus. This is not to say that these are difficult to love, or that they have deviated so much from the band’s original vision that one needs that time to truly decipher a new direction. (All the components that made the band’s first outing so charming are all in attendance—minus bassist Andy Hamm, with whom the band parted ways in 2011.) Opener “You & I” simply begins with a warm organ tone, a languid lick and a keening vocal line. At first, it feels like a sketch, but then builds into a ravishing, barn-burning ballad. The closer “Bowery” starts out equally tentatively, before slowly swirling into a plaintive plea of a song that won’t let go. From start to finish, Hummingbird is a compelling record that warrants your enduring affections.

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