After signing to Frenchkiss Records, a label who has recently seen the success of similar indie artists as Passion Pit and The Antlers, Local Natives’ stunning debut, Gorilla Manor was released just a few weeks ago after much buzz around ‘the interwebz’. The hype most supports the final product, an album which features harmonies that rivals My Morning Jacket and Fleet Foxes and fantastic instrumentals that would make any band want more hands to use to try to sound like them.
Manor opens elegantly with an immediate standout track in “Wide Eyes”, which turns quite nicely into a buildup track with shakers, tambourines and seemingly every other percussion instrument blended between the simplest of guitar sections. Thats the thing, however, on this record that truly makes it stand out. The entire drum kit finds it’s way into the frame, aside from the most common of snare drums, which give for a fascinating listen. The album features a serious variety of sounds and textures, which all provide a different view of the band if you heard them apart from one another.
Piano driven “Airplanes” discusses what the band says is about one of their grandfathers, makes for a touching and heartfelt ballad as lyrics express “It sounds like we / would of had a great deal to say / to each other / I bet when I leave / my body for the sky the wait will be worth it.” “Sun Hands” is an explosive song in itself, but the centerpiece of the album must be “Shape Shifter”, which gives even the warmest souls the coldest chills with its ascending melodies and incredible vocals which completely drive the song.
The first five tracks on the album leave the second half of the album wondering to themselves if they could possibly top them. Through a valiant effort of the Talking Heads’ cover “Warning Sign” and the lovely “Who Knows Who Cares” it’s difficult to overcome the beginning. Consistent throughout, I know we’ll be discussing Gorilla Manor again at the end of the year as one of the best releases of the year.
Key Tracks: “Wide Eyes”, “Sun Hands”, “Shape Shifter”
Recommended if you like: Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, and Arcade Fire.
WPGU Music Staff Rating: W-P-G
W = Poor
W-P = Fair
W-P-G = Great
W-P-G-U = An instant classic!