I defy you to listen to the opening chords of Gorilla Manor and not immediately fall in love. Maybe not even necessarily with Local Natives themselves. Just squidgy, unbearably embarrassing love with the world, its contents and maybe one or two of the people within, such is the effortless power of the LA quintet.
The opening two tracks, Wide Eyes and Airplanes are a double punch to the pleasure centre. Nothing overly complicated; just gorgeous melodies, a vulnerable yet harmonious vocal and a reminder that there’s no greater joy than beautifully written pop songs.
Elsewhere we’re treated to the stomping Camera Talking which manages a tricky sleight of hand by sounding vaguely surf-pop without being annoying. Sun Hands and World News hint at what Fleet Foxes could do if they could actually pen a catchy tune. Whilst Shape Shifter proves what bleeding talented craftsmen the Natives really are.
Every track here is imbued with ever-searching wonder and rhythm. The band have poured themselves so completely into every layer and nuance of the album, it creates a genuine and blissfully consuming experience. They got hooks, they got four part harmonies, they got the modern indie-folk sound down. They got it all.
Gorilla Manor is a joyous trek out of some gloomy forest into a lovely little sunny glen with the sure-handed and wise Local Natives as your faithful companion. They’ll make everything okay.
Now you go tell everyone.
Words: Christopher Ratcliff
Listen: LOCAL NATIVES – Gorilla Manor