Local Natives released their debut album, Gorilla Manor, way back in 2010 and we haven't really heard from them since. It was easy-to-love indie rock that fit right into the landscape at the time.
Hummingbird stands a little apart. It sounds more like the product of the band turning into itself instead of looking outward for inspiration. That's partly because they've kept the same sound and haven't jumped on any trends, and partly because this album is darker and more introspective.
“Colombia,” with its oddly pleasing pairing of somber piano chords and aquatic bloops, is particularly sad and beautiful. Singer Kelcey Ayer's mother recently passed away, and the lyrics seem to directly address her. “You & I,” the album's opener, similarly showcases Ayer's voice in an emotional, not-straining-but-still-reaching falsetto.
Matt Frazier's drumming stands out all over the record, but particularly when it's tumbling and crashing on “Wooly Mammoth,” when it's shimmery and cymbal-heavy on “Bowery” or providing a steady, driving patter on “Heavy Feet.”
And speaking of “Heavy Feet,” the second single is one of the songs that will stick with you, if only for the earworm chorus of “After everything / Left in the sun / Shivering.” The lead single, “Breakers,” is also a high point of the album thanks to its anthemic chorus.
But it's not all monumental and grand. Local Natives took a few opportunities to be more delicate and soft. “Ceilings” features some twirly guitar parts that give it a pastoral feel, and though the organ on “Black Balloons” fills up a lot of space, the guitar riff has a smile-inducing quality.
Hummingbird doesn't offer anything as outright youthful as Gorilla Manor's hits, but Local Natives still sound playful in more mature way, and it's beautiful.