A lot of bands have come out over the past few years successfully copying or building on that Beach Boys harmonized pop-surfer sound.  One of the most successful is the Los Angeles-based Local Natives, whose 2010 debut album, Gorilla Manor, is filled with great percussion and crisp harmonies.  While there is a single thread through this album of optimism stemming from the dreamy, starry-night-sky sound, the band branches out with some grungy songs and afropop percussions.

This album can be broken down into two parts.  The first half is upbeat, but just when you begin to get a sugar high, the second half, starting with Cards and Quarters, slows down with more reflective, emotive lyrics.

Track Breakdown:

Wide Eyes is haunting, powerful, and the perfect introduction into the album, showing off the band’s skill at making complex harmonies sound relaxed and simple.  With ominous opening lyrics, Oh some evil spirit oh some evil this way comes, Wide Eyes verges on but is too thoughtful to be considered “pop.”

An opening filled with piano and grunts, Airplanes flies you to places you weren’t expecting.  A song about longing for someone’s return, Airplanes starts with heartfelt aching that builds powerfully to desperation.

Sun Hands is the kitchen sink song, where the band uses hard rock guitars, twinkling vocals, and a tribal pace that keeps you so focused you don’t realize how many styles are being used.

When and Where:

This album is a summer anthem.  Blast Gorilla Manor the first day of summer when you are passing out at the park or lounging on the beach.

Wide Eyes:


Sun Hands:

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