California band Local Natives debut album, Gorilla Manor, is filled with heavy percussion, a Talking Heads cover and shrilling vocals. Surprisingly, none of it is disappointing.
Local Natives hit the L.A. scene as long-time pals playing for fun, but with the release of Gorilla Manor the group is now receiving plenty of well-deserved attention. The album takes its cues from many indie superstars. It has percussion reminiscent of The Dodos and vocals similar to Fleet Foxes. They expand on these influences in order to create a unique sound. The heavy percussion, even in the album's ballads, adds just the right amount of intensity. Whenever the drums are not at the forefront of the songs, their pronouncement is missed. Quite possibly the strongest component of Gorilla Manor is the near perfect vocals. "Stranger Thread," arguably the best track, exudes range with three part harmonies and a perfect drum and vocal solo.
Their cover of Talking Heads song "Warning Sign" at first seems a bit over zealous for their debut. The twist on a classic gives the original a run for its money. One aspect that might deter listeners is the teen angst ridden lyricism. With reference to college love in "World News" and a Skype argument in "Cubism Dream," it may leave some listeners wondering if this group is lyrically challenged. But this band's lyricism only complements their sound even though it can easily be misconstrued. Local Natives' Gorilla Manor might not be a cryptic album that needs to be deciphered, but its enjoyable and enthusiastic qualities make for a perfect listen.