Local Natives: Hummingbird


Local Natives' second album is less dynamic than the Los Angeles band's 2010 debut, Gorilla Manor. Gone are the head-turning percussive elements, the Fleet Foxes-style vocal harmonies, and the winning "I want you back" (and I'm gonna get you back) ethos of that album's apex, "Airplanes." With this change, the group shakes off some of its influences, fumbling toward a more unique sound. Unfortunately, that sound is quite boisterous and poppy - the stuff of Subaru commercials - without the hooks to carry it home. The album is most powerful in its despondent moments, notably "Three Months" and "Colombia," the latter an elegy to Kelcey Ayer's recently deceased mother. His arena-ready tenor, which nearly approaches the greatness of My Morning Jacket's Jim James, at times gives Hummingbird wings. (3 out of 5 stars)