Local Natives of Silver Lake, Los Angeles, release their debut album after a highly lauded set at this year's SXSW festival. With clattering rhythms, evocative harmonies and jaunty rock guitars, Gorilla Manor is the latest folk pop gem to add to your collection.
It's a good time to be in a psych-folk band. With the popularity of folk pop outfits like Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear continuing to rise, the timing is perfect for Silver Lake's Local Natives to release their debut album. And, while there's a certain level of comparison that can be drawn between Local Natives and the aforementioned acts (they combine the echoing harmonies of Fleet Foxes with the airy, rickety quality of Grizzly Bear), Gorilla Manor is far from a cheap knock off. Its sound may be rooted in folk, but with hints of new wave, soul, pop and even prog, there is never a dull moment.
The influence of Talking Heads is clear, not only in the presence of a tight, filled out cover of 'Warning Sign', but also in the dominant rolling percussion and unbridled yelps that are audible throughout. Meanwhile, with its stabbing keyboard backdrop and offbeat guitar twangs, the chorus of single 'Camera Talk' comes across like a pumped up Vampire Weekend.
For the most part, the tone is upbeat and the pace kept swift, to the point that even tracks nearing the six minute mark seem fleeting. But the very strength of Gorilla Manor lies in its successful modulation from rebellious hustle to solemn maturity. 'Cards and Quarters' is a sure highlight - a smooth, polished number with R&B undercurrents that builds to an abrupt yet satisfying climax.
Sure, there are moments that veer dangerously close to cheesy (sweet piano and string ballad 'Who Knows Who Cares' is a prime example), but Gorilla Manor always manages to stay on the right side of it. Above all, this album is addictively catchy, interesting and delectable from beginning to end. Yes, this kind of music is fashionable at the moment, but it is a testament to Local Natives that with the sheer volume of bandwagon hoppers and copycats flooding the scene, there's no possible way that Gorilla Manor could get lost in the dirge.