Los Angeles’ Local Natives release their sophomore album, entitled Hummingbird, on Frenchkiss Records/Infectious Music. Much has happened between the band’s critically-acclaimed album Gorilla Manor and the imminent release of Hummingbird. From rave reviews to brilliant television performances, Gorilla Manor launched the band onto the global stage, saw them headlining theaters throughout America and Europe, opening for bands like Arcade Fire and The National, and winning them lauded slots at major festivals around the world.
Upon their return home from the road, the band built out a rehearsal space and studio in an abandoned bungalow in Silverlake, allowing them to write and experiment extensively with new sounds and arrangements. Keeping their uniquely collaborative process intact, this ultimately led to the band utilizing new instruments and songwriting approaches, challenging themselves to grow from the comfort space of their established aesthetic.
The band says Hummingbird was created from the emotional framework of being stretched between two opposite poles. In the two years following Gorilla Manor’s release, the band saw the highest highs and the lowest lows they had ever experienced together. While many of their wildest musical ambitions were coming to fruition, personal relationships faltered or fell apart, and a close family member suddenly passed away. The songs on Hummingbird embody that similar dichotomy – they are fragile and powerful, opulent and spare, tense and poised. When it came time to properly set these songs to tape, the band did their initial tracking in Montreal, and then decamped to Brooklyn, enlisting as co-producer The National’s Aaron Dessner, whom they had recently befriended while touring together. It was the first time they had ever recorded outside their native California, and relocating became the physical manifestation of working beyond what was familiar for them.
Shining opener “You & I” is the album’s calling card, bathing synthetic drums in warm organs and surfy guitars, and the band’s signature sky-high harmonies. “Heavy Feet” marries hand claps and sparse chords with a driving snare and one of the most remarkable choruses on the album, while “Ceilings” sounds like Fleetwood Mac with a dub bass groove. “Colombia,” written for a member’s mother who passed away unexpectedly last year, is the album’s swollen heart moment, a love letter from a son to a parent which grows in beautiful, orchestral complexity around a simple, plaintive chorus. Like all of Hummingbird, the song carries with it not just a melodic richness, but a quality of catharsis and grace – a moment to be examined and ultimately enjoyed.