Great things were expected from this Californian five-piece's debut album, Gorilla Manor which is named after the house they share. They have enjoyed much hype having won the hearts of UK fans and critics alike at the industry's Mecca, the SXSW festival where they performed no less than 9 times.
Yes, the striking resemblance between this debut and Fleet Foxes cannot be avoided, mainly due to the joint smooth, soft vocals of Taylor Rice and Kelcey Ayer and their layered electro-acoustic folk-rock sound. However, Gorilla Manor is a beautiful and complex album, a success in its own right and although clearly portrays its influences, it does not imitate.
Local Natives seem to split people down the middle, they haven't just jumped on the current indie-folk wagon, they inject originality .Yes, the chanting at the beginning of Airplanes is perhaps a bit try hard and clichÃ©d, but the song itself more than makes up for it. Although there is the occasional weak 'filler', Warning Sign for example, the rest of the album does keep you interested with a good balance of fragile ballads brimming with emotion and heavier more rock inspired tracks with thumping percussion and electric guitar.
The familiar hook of Stranger Things starts to draw the album to a close. Clever layered percussion and haunting backing vocals sum up the band's sound perfectly. As the penultimate song of the album, leaves you wanting more. The skills that the band poses in blending electric guitar with strings and piano, together with their vocal harmonies make Gorilla Manor an album not to be missed.