Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
Local Natives have been blipping on and off the radar for some time now, combining light-footed melody with epic rock gusto and expertly tailored harmonies. And that's to say nothing of the excellent facial hair. And now, lo! A debut, 'Gorilla Manor', although it's not certain whether this is a reference to the aforementioned adornments or just a title.
The album kicks off with the lilting and beautiful 'Wide Eyes', and it is immediately evident that these five young musicians from Silverlake have the four essential ingredients of genre success - rhythm, harmony, expansiveness and beards. Sound familiar? That's because it is, but it's the way they're put together that makes these songs special - it feels as if you're being dragged into a well of your own emotions.
That said, the highlight of this album (just) is the cover of Talking Heads' 'Warning Sign'. Sensitively done but also completely different - what a new life for an old song. And that is Local Natives' trump card - they are uplifting creative.
Truth be told, this album is most likely to appeal to genre junkies - Local Natives are a sort of a weekend fleet of arcade vampires on fire. But unlike a lot of these sort of bands they haven't shown you their whole catalog in three tracks, and there's a lot of very good stuff in this album.
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on 2010-03-23 Archelon Said:
Nice review, thurstamoore! I enjoyed this one too, especially the 'WArning Sign' cover, very well done.
on 2010-03-15 thurstamoore Said:
ack in December 2008 , five unruly musicians piled themselves into a home together in Orange County and created dreamy, rich songs. The result is Gorilla Manor, L.A.'s Local Natives debut album. Their sound has a familiarly orchestral, textured feel with layers of violins, three-part harmonies and fast-paced drums rolling over one another. Although they have been brought down endlessly because of the comparisons to The Dodos, Grizzly Bear and the Fleet Foxes, it is crucial to see through it and appreciate this wonder.
The album opens up with "Wide Eyes", with two addictive, magical guitar lines overlapping one another accompanied by memorable rim taps on the drums. "Airplanes" opens strangely, with what sounds like animal calls, but quickly leaves the listener questioning as he begs for the return of a mysterious lost loved one, discreetly hiding their identity. "Sun Hands" features collective singing from the whole band. Local Natives throw in a version of Talking Heads' "Warning Sign", and completely turn it upside down into an incredibly well-done cover with ample personality. David Byrne's familiarly energetic and wild vocals have been slowed down to a melodic three-part harmony, but the funky bass remains all the same.
Although it's not an instant classic that will be remembered in decades from now, it is without a doubt a stunning debut. Local Natives definitely brought the heat on Gorilla Manor, but there is an even crazier inner animal to be unleashed on the next album. There is much more exploring to do for these young ones, and I can't wait to see what's coming next.