Gorilla Manor Import
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Grizzly Bearや Fleet Foxesのようなアーティスティックでモダンなルーツロック系がお好きなら聴く価値あり。
UPDATE (6 years later):
This is a modern classic in my opinion. The songs are still every bit as good as they were the first months I listened. This is an album I come back to again and again and again. Truly in my top-5 of all time.
That said, let me wholeheartedly compliment their musical endeavors in Gorilla Manor. The drive, the cohesion of harmonies, the instrumentation, the distinct quality of sound: all commendable! Full chordal vocal harmonies are rare, and in that respect, Fleet Foxes are brought to mind in accompanying Local Natives in finding the fullest vocal sounds (harmonically). A melancholy, industrial, and full experimental sound exudes from this album.
In that respect, it would almost be far-reaching to assume this song or that is "the best" on the album. Every song is new! Every song contributes to the variety of this new sound! I will say, however, that pieces of songs such as "Cards & Quarters," "Shape Shifter," and "Who Knows Who Cares" are unexpected and appreciated breaks from the sometimes brash and monotonous drums that carry most of the album's moving, rhythmic sound. Some of the best moments on the album are without the tribal meandering of the drums. It could be argued that many songs share similar qualities, but I believe this to be an emerging consistency in the sound of Local Natives, not a lack of originality. We'll see with future material!
Back to lyrics. Let's be honest: lyrics play a large part (half) in making a song meaningful, relevant, and legitimate. I loved the album upon my first listening!... and then I listened to the lyrics. In that regard, Local Natives have room for experimenting with the connection between sound and lyrics, and that includes the rhythmic consideration of lyrics. For instance, "Airplanes" has the potential of moving every listener (okay, a stretch). But it makes me cringe to pay attention to the lyrics of this truly moving song. "Made of... made of... of wood" seems like such a powerful and climactic musical phrase, ruined by trite, unconnected thoughts. "Taught abroad... taught abroad... in Japan" follows this lyrical gem with hardly any relevance or rhyme, and it ruins what could have been such a moving lyrical thought. And there goes a third of the song already. It settles where it could have shined. Toward the middle of the song the lyrics include the word "encyclopedia" where perhaps two syllables should have gone. It reminds me of someone hopelessly ad-libing their improvised words to another tune. The trend continues in the track "Warning Sign." In this particular song the disappointing lyrics are "move my hair; move it around a lot; I don't care what I remember." Perhaps these lyrical shortcomings don't bother other listeners. To me, however, they scream inadequacy and inexperience. Luckily, the music is creative, engaging, driving, and skillfully executed. I'd be curious to find these lyrics accompanied with disappointing music; I doubt we'd have heard of the band. Local Natives are carried by their varying, original sound. In the coming years, I expect to find Local Natives with a larger audience after they find the emotional, rhythmic, and poetic nuances of their lyrics.
When the needle hits vinyl, the first thing to notice is the warmth of the guitar tones and the percussion that becomes an asset that sets Local Natives apart from its comrades in the alt-folk/indie-folk (insert your own genre here) scene, such as Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear and, to a lesser extent, Mumford & Sons. Within the first song, the group shows us everything that they have with shimmering, warm guitars, varying forms of percussion, group harmonies and wavering vocals. What makes Local Natives different is their certainty in songwriting and their ability to insert a percussive solo when other bands of this ilk will insert a noodling guitar solo or an orchestral string arrangement. The album has a strong start with its first four songs, sort of tapers off in the middle, then comes through very nicely to the finish.
The album will keep you tapping along, hoping to find anything against which to tap your pen, stomp your foot, or scream at the top of your lungs (as I always find myself doing during "Sun Hands"). If you find yourself interested in any of the bands I mentioned above, Local Natives is a band for you. If you're looking for something heavy or something straightforward, this will not be an album you'll find a lot of joy in listening through.