Gorilla Manor, the ambitious debut album from the Los Angeles quintet Local Natives, is in one sense a pastiche of prevailing indie-pop elements, each song characterized by complex arrangements that ebb and flow, shift directions and rhythms, and invoke often-impressionistic lyrics that flirt with deeper meaning.
Quick contemporary comparisons suggest Grizzly Bear (massed vocals), Los Campesinos! (group ethos), My Morning Jacket (guitar figures) and Animal Collective (polyrhythmic pulse). But Local Natives manage to establish their own identity by putting it all together in consistently interesting ways. The three-part harmonies, for instance, vary from ragged shouting to soaring falsetto cloudbursts to swirling call-and-response chattering to stuff just short of classical choral. And that can be in a single song: "Sun Hands," for instance, is an appropriately catchy dose of sunny spirit that also sports a neat psychedelic guitar rave.
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