Some albums are simply enchanting. They mean more to you with every listen. Since my first listen of Gorilla Manor by the Local Natives I have been enamored with every song. Every time I listen to the album I become more impressed by the impeccable harmonies, the mesmerizing guitar leads, the memorable lyrics, and the toe-tap worthy percussion. The Los Angeles band’s debut album has earned every head turn it has received. Each song takes you to a new world, where you are both captive and free.
The album opens with “Wide Eyes,” an optimistic depiction of heaven on Earth conveyed through heavenly voices, sets the mood for the rest of the album. We see the Local Natives for what they are: wide-eyed and open-armed. This newfound understanding of the band flows into the next song, “Airplanes,” as the lyrics describe one of the band member’s pilot grandfather. In just four minutes we learn the life of a seasoned pilot who was rightly beloved.
The album takes a slight turn at “Sun Hands,” when we hear hints the first of the amazing group harmonies that this album offers. The singers plead in an almost revolutionary tone: “And when I can feel with my sun hands, I promise not to lose her again.” They beckon you with quick tempos and beautiful harmonies to lose yourself in the impeccable music.
By the time the percussion of “Camera Talk” pounds against my chest I know there is no escaping the band’s quaint charm. By the time the hook comes around and the band reassures, “And even though I can’t be sure memory tells me that these times are worth working for,” I am lost in the rhythm of the percussion and the hypnotic guitar strums.
Perhaps my favorite song of the album is “Who Knows Who Cares.” A bit lower than the album’s typical quick tempo beat, “Who Knows Who Cares” boasts a jaw-droppingly impressive blend of gorgeous strings and cymbals accompanying some of the best three-person harmonies I have ever heard. It’s the type of song you aren’t really capable of singing along to, but don’t let that stop you.
Finally the album closes with the song “Sticky Thread.” The most serene song of the album gives us an all-knowing closure. The lyrics offer a Meta kernel of knowledge when they utter, “We never felt the sticky thread. The spider webs, their balance in the garden, their work is so hard, their work is so hard.” After a long listen, we see how hard the Local Natives work was, and we appreciate it all the more.
Nick McLellan is a college freshman at the University of Oklahoma immersing himself in local slam poetry, music, and coffee drinking conversationalists. If spotted on the street, he would be equipped with headphones, his trusty music player, and undoubtedly a smile.