Review : LOCAL NATIVES - Gorilla manor
Roughtraderough trade exclusive special edition with a bonus dvd featuring the local natives playing acoustically in strange places, out in the countryside, mixed up with some on the road stuff. the cd is in a digi, and the dvd in a separate artworked card sleeve plus a slipcase round it all. 'gorilla manor' is the debut album from the local natives who were the buzz band of this year's sxsw. the los angeles quintet makes music that crackles with frenetic beats, agile melodies and cascading harmonies, tightly assembled in songs that undulate, in varying degrees of exuberance and wonderment. their harmonic style is indicative of the influence of hazy socal beach bums and zombified brit pop, while their percussion philosophy derives from a unifying connection between the five-piece developed over hours spent living together in their own guerilla hideaway in silverlake, california. this album has the warmth and instant attraction of hearing the fleet foxes, mid peroid talking heads or band of horses for the first time. it was love at first listen at rough trade shops....full text
BbcSilver Lake five-piece Local Natives deliver their debut album after enjoying a decent degree of media coverage, especially throughout the blog world, much of which has concluded that the band could well follow in Fleet Foxes’ footsteps and take their brand of Americana-flecked indie-rock into the mainstream.
Much of the attention to come the band’s way has been generated by favourable reviews of their sets at this year’s South By Southwest conference, held in Austin, Texas back in March. Every year the multi-venue event – think the Camden Crawl on an epic scale (with better, and often bigger, bands) – produces a buzz band or two, and Local Natives impressed enough of the right people to qualify as a genuine One to Watch for 2009. And this album largely delivers on the promise.
The oddly titled Gorilla Manor features 12 tracks that successfully stir thoughts of a host of comparative ensembles – Band of Horses, O’Death, Pinback and, yes, Fleet Foxes – but Local Natives’ arrangements can express a cheery effervescence only sporadic in much of the aforementioned acts’ work. The a cappella breakdown of Sun Hands is an early example of this carefree attitude to composition – it’s completely out of place, yet feels entirely natural at the same time. Camera Talk flexes dub-kissed muscles midway through before breaking out a violin for some Arcade Fire-like strings-and-percussion splendour....full text
ThemusicmagazineLocal Natives always faced an uphill struggle. Right from their inception they’ve been labelled as critics’ darlings, a band for Pitchfork readers, a band to drop the name of at arty parties to make that cute indie girl with the fringe and the ironic polka dot dress and the butterfly tattoo on her wrist fall in love with you. Constantly compared to Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire and – just to complete the pressure – another hugely critically successful band in Vampire Weekend, Local Natives have been a band unnecessarily thrust into the spotlight for many months already. The Vampire Weekend comparison is especially baffling. Bar a tiny bit of steel drums and the occasional splash of Afrobeat rhythms there’s nothing similar to the Ivy Leaguers at all.
The band are from the Silverlake area of Los Angeles, which is in itself usually enough to get the bloggers salivating. But while initially there is promise and invention in Gorilla Manor, stick your head below the surface and there isn’t much going on. Many of the tracks are without direction, and not in a good way. They don’t wooze along in a carefree manner, they’re deliberately planned to not go anywhere. Like too much new American music, this is just far too studied and thought out. Music making should be a natural process, a suck-it-and-see trial-and-error method to see what works, but I can’t shake the feeling out of my head that somehow spreadsheets and graphs and meetings were involved in the creation of Gorilla Manor. It’s in direct contrast to America’s best new band Girls, who captured hearts with their honesty rather than their intelligence or ability to work a key change into a song....full text
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