Local Natives – Gorilla Manor [Album Review]

by Woody on February 4, 2010

local natives

Local Natives are set to release one of our most anticipated albums of 2010, Gorilla Manor, on February 16th. “Wide Eyes” opens the album and according to guitarist, Ryan Hahn, “It’s about people’s obsession with the miraculous and disastrous¦with witnessing extraordinary events.” There’s a great part at about 2:15 where the band breaks into percussion ala Paul Simon’s “The Obvious Child” and you expect the tune to explode. But they dial it back down with a noodly guitar lick and slowly build back up with harmonies before breaking into a closing jam a minute later. I have listened to that part about 100 times and it’s simply brilliant.

Local Natives also do a phenomenal interpretation of Talking Heads’ “Warning Sign.” “We’ve basically flipped the song on its head,” says drummer, Matt Frazier, explaining how they switched David Byrne’s original yelped vocals into a beautiful three-part harmony.‚  The mere fact that they chose that tune is awesome, but the way deconstructed it is inventive and original – not your average cover song.

“Cards and Quarters” is a slow, dreamy tune that moves at a snail’s pace as the harmonies wash over an ever so simple beat. This tune was the song that sold me last year at SxSW and the last minute is fantastic. I could go on about this stunning debut all day. While they were a pleasant surprise in ’09, I’d declare them one of the top new bands out there today. Couldn’t have happened to nicer group of guys.

Website | MySpace | Twitter | Frenchkiss Records

Local Natives – Sun Hands

Local Natives – Camera Talk

Video: Local Natives – Airplanes

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Patrick February 4, 2010 at 8:52 am

It’s killing me that this album was released in the UK months ago and in the US we’re all still here sitting on our thumbs waiting.

kyle February 4, 2010 at 8:58 am

I think Airplanes is the clear winner on the album, it’s a really fantastic song.

oz February 4, 2010 at 10:31 am

It’s like the Dodos, only better.

Todd February 4, 2010 at 11:11 am

If you like Local Natives (which you do), definitely check out The Idaho Falls, a band led by Raymond Richards (the producer of Gorilla Manor). Great neo-60s indie pop sound. Their latest album, The Spark, dropped last week. A warm and bright album for a cold and cloudy Chicago winter.

kyle February 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm

checking them out… sounds pretty good… will listen more.

Clarence February 8, 2010 at 8:58 am

All in all a very good album, although I’d wish they wouldn’t copy the Fleet Foxes that blatantly.

Rob February 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Exclusive First Listen: Local Natives — Hear ‘Gorilla Manor’ In Its Entirety A Week Before Its Release by Bob Boilen at NPR Music


Franny February 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I’m enjoying this album a lot. Seems to be following a trend I’ve been noticing lately with indie music where the songs are driven by intricate rhythm/percussion and distant feeling ambient vocal melodies and harmonies. As oppose to say neutral milk hotel that used simple rhythms and warm harmonies or even paul simon (who many of these bands are being compared to) who had funky rhythms but warm vocals. I feel like this is like a radiohead or mars volta trickle down effect.

Bill April 12, 2011 at 8:32 am

great band. the album is amazing, great sound! another upcoming band who blew me away recently is ‘Superlungs’. They are about to release their debut album on May 2nd, and i can’t wait! I would love to hear your view on them! here’s some links:


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