Local Natives’ sophomore album, Hummingbird, introduces their slightly despairing content with “You & I.” Powerful vocals accompanied by marching drums guide the audience into the album with a chauvinistic entrance. The content delivered from this band’s lyrics pull at the emotional heartstrings yet still contain that shining hope, yearning for resolve.
The marching from Matt Frazier’s drumming is excellently displayed in “Heavy Feet,” the second song on the album. Reminiscent of the band Imagine Dragons, this song has familiar kick and clap patterns listeners will find themselves nodding their heads to. Carrying on into “Ceilings,” listeners are introduced to the dreamy and inspiring flow characterizing the Local Natives. Each song during the introduction of Hummingbird seems to feature some key instruments and styles the band uses. “You & I” begins with vocals; “Heavy Feet” highlights the drums; “Ceilings” showcases some keyboard in its initial stages, while the guitar shines intermittently in the production.
“Black Spot” begins with catchy and rhythmic keystrokes designed to introduce voices that tug emotionally at listeners throughout the album. The band’s choral sound brings an interesting appeal to the lyrics, which are kept simple and ambiguous enough to elicit any number of emotional responses.
The best showcasing of the chorus is exhibited in the enticing “oohs” from the band’s singers. Featured in “Breakers,” the “oohs” will be cemented into the heads of most listeners, leading a swaying flow of voices and drumming that culminates with crashing symbols and an abrupt end.
“Three Months” is a reminder of darkness that must be triumphed over. The vocals are sought out as a guide, while a marching drumbeat carries the listener through, ever reminded of the despair by lyrical content and minor chords. But Hummingbird is not about sadness. It’s as if the band is drawing upon sadness as an inspiration for what has lead Local Natives to where it is today.
As if to say, “let it all go,” “Black Balloons” brings the mood out of the depths and into the open air. “Wooly Mammoth” completes the transition into brightness with pounding drums. One of the vocalists digs deep to draw the epic voice used to bring down and then lift up the listener. The voice is beautifully accompanied by ranging guitar licks and inspiring keyboard work.
“Mt. Washington” features an acoustic introduction followed by a ghostly voice and sprinkled with some piano. The spacey guitar comes back to take the listener into the drumming which is at the core of every story the Natives are trying to tell.
“Columbia” brings the mood back to seriousness. With repetitive lyrics such as, “Am I giving enough … Am I loving enough,” it leads on an epic journey, setting the somber tone required for the rousing conclusion of Hummingbird.
And the final track, “Bowery,” does not disappoint. It occasionally flirts with a grungy lower vocal lead that makes the listener pay more attention to the seriousness of their content. However, the interludes have a melody that brings up poignant memories of lullabies with the track’s soft keys and light chords. The last installment of the genius that is Hummingbird will be echoing inside the head’s of each listener, concluding with rising “oohing” and increased tempo as the album drops off just as quickly as it began.
While the style of Local Natives can be compared to Fleet Foxes or Band of Horses, Local Natives creates a sound all their own. The band creates a listening experience that is one-of-a-kind. The emotion and power that is put into this album shines through each song in a unique way.
The album is set for release today.