In the world of indie rock, few bands have debuted as strongly as L.A.’s Local Natives. The group burst onto the scene in 2009 with the anthemic Gorilla Manor, a big and sunny collection of songs that reflected a sense of hopeful idealism and youthful abandon. On Hummingbird, the band does an admirable job of not resting on its laurels. In place of Gorilla Manor’s heavily layered drums and vocals, Hummingbird feels almost sparse; it’s an album more interested in exploring subtlety than swimming in waves of sound. Frontman Kelcey Ayer spends the majority of the record in solo mode, and while his vocals can sound thin without all the backups, the technique ultimately gives the band more space to create. Take “Colombia,” Hummingbird’s standout track about the recent passing of Ayer’s mother. It’s a quiet piano ballad that gathers momentum as Ayer ponders “Am I giving enough?” and it’s easily Local Natives’ boldest move yet.


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