Hummingbird - Local Natives
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 46 Ratings

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  • Band members: Taylor Rice, Kelcey Ayer, Matthew Frazier, Ryan Hahn
  • Summary: The sophomore release for the Los Angeles indie rock quartet produced by The National's Aaron Dessner is its first without bassist Andy Hamm (who left the band in 2011).
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Jan 29, 2013
    From the first sung note of Hummingbird, Local Natives are frank in their presentation of a serious album, challenging listeners to heal along with them; cognizant that investment is proportional to remuneration.
  2. With patience, Hummingbird's panorama comes into full view, and it is one full of arrestingly arranged set pieces and an impressive sense of economy.
  3. Jan 28, 2013
    Opener You & I setting the tone, all unhurried melancholia topped by Kelcey Ayer's soaring vocal. Elsewhere, they show they're equally adept at the euphoria in which Arcade Fire deal.
  4. May 17, 2013
    Produced by Aaron Dessner of the National, the Brooklyn, N.Y., indie rockers who once took Local Natives on the road as the opening act, the album feels like a pronouncement, as if to highlight how much the quartet has grown since its last outing.
  5. 75
    The follow-up sometimes feels like its coasting down a long but not-so-steep hill. [8 Feb 2013, p.75]
  6. Jan 29, 2013
    Sometimes, the results are heavily wrought and obviously worked over (the muddled instrumentation in the chorus of Breakers comes to mind), and some of the skittering grooves (the spastic tribal pounding of Wooly Mammoth) don't quite fit in the album's overarching arc. Nevertheless, the stately elegance of Hummingbird emphasizes how Local Natives are fit for the role of indie rock saviors.
  7. Jan 17, 2013
    "Black Balloons" is built on a riff exactly like Bon Iver's "Perth" sped up, and hearing the grating lyrical wail of "Columbia" and you're left wondering if so much time away was a result of writer's block. [Feb 2013, p.90]

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Apr 25, 2013
    While Gorilla Manor was focused mainly on live performance and texture, Hummingbird shows what happens when the Local Natives let their emotions override. With the passing of one of lead singers mothers passing away, there are many heartfelt sentiments expressed throughout this record. The most prime example is "Columbia", which is this moving, heartbreaking anthem from a son to his parted mother. rewinding a bit, the album kicks off with Ayer's adventurous vocals on "You & I" which discusses the efforts of a lover within a relationship. While every song is beautiful and composed to near perfection, the subtle yet powerful "Mt.Washington" remains my personal favorite. Although there will most likely never be a way to top Gorilla Manor, the Natives present their sophomore effort with grace and it has been well received. You're missing out if you let this album pass you by. Collapse
  2. Feb 8, 2013
    After an unexpected yet brilliant debut album, Local Natives deliver another great album. I would label this one on the "beautiful" column, because it seems to contain deeper more intimate moments, especially when you sit down and try to break down the lyrics... Even though this takes a different path than Gorilla Manor, the rewards are still there. On this album the band tries to reach a high euphoric point on almost every song (perhaps due to The National's Aaron Dessner) which can be bothersome for some but not to me. Some standouts of the album are You and I, Breakers and Columbia. Although this is not a perfect album, I believe this album solidifies their stance near the top of the indie rock world. On a side note, if you guys really want to get a sense of the band and the album you should catch them live. I did that a few weeks ago and it was hands down the best show I have ever been to. They only played about half of the songs on the new album, but they all sounded better than the studio version. They delivered such an intimate performance even though the venue was fairly large. It was the very first show on their tour and you could sense the nervousness, but as soon as the crowd responded to 'Breakers' they put on an amazing act. Expand
  3. Feb 12, 2013
    Heard them on Fallon and picked up their album the next day. Incredibly deep and soothing, Hummingbird manages to satisfy on all levels. If you're a fan of MUSIC, there should be something worth your while on this sophomore effort. Expand
  4. Aug 12, 2013
    For those who expected Gorilla Manor, prepare to be surprised; however, it can’t be said that you should prepare to be disappointed. Hummingbird is far from a disappointment, for Local Natives have proven that they can completely reinvent themselves without sacrificing the elements that make them unique. It’s too early in the game to say that the band has a signature sound, but considering how well they have honed their new sound, going without one might just be alright for now.

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  5. Feb 3, 2013
    If you're looking for another Gorilla Manor, it's likely you will be disappointed. While Gorilla Manor can be argued to be a bit top heavy as an album, Hummingbird offers a consistency of songs that exuberate chemistry, and together stand tall. Local Natives do not offer any immediate crowd pleasers like "Airplanes" or "World News" here, but rather slow down the tempo and percussive clatter to create a much more expansive and thoughtful sound. Opener, "You I" makes this evident as the laid back wobbly surf guitar strums are interrupted by Kelcey belting out the song's title, letting the listener know that he can't fake a smile anymore and he has some serious thoughts to get off his chest. Darkness shades the edges of this album as a result of Kelcey's mother passing away, and his loss fuels his best performances on the album both lyrically and vocally. Here, he sounds wounded, heartbroken, and lonely. Particularly on his solo take "Three Months", he croons, "I have to go on now, having thought this wasn't your last year." Anxiety haunts each song, especially on "Breakers" where Taylor nervously sings "Breathing out, hoping to breath in, I know nothings wrong, but I'm not convinced...Just let it happen, I can't let it happen. Just don't think so much." Trust has been damaged on "Black Balloons": "Swear you're who you say you are." Those of us who suffer from anxiety or depression can completely understand those unsteady feelings. However, for all the tension, the Local Natives still let cracks of light shine through. but in only in a few subtle ways. The soaring harmonies we have all grown to love are very much in tact, for all the sadness on the chilling rhythm of "Heavy Feet" you can still feel warmth inside. Arena- rocker "Wooly Mammoth" is riddled combatant array of percussion, but then magnificently opens wide to its brilliantly expansive chorus filled with harmony that give a fleeting sense of clarity, but like "Black Spot" there are hints of an imminent collapse.The calm of "Mt. Washington" is disquieting with Taylor singing "I don't have to see you right now" as if he is fighting back tears. All the emotional build leads to the achingly honest words of Hummingbird's calling card, "Colombia": "Every night I ask myself, am I giving enough?/ am I loving enough?" Questions impossible to answer, yet inevitable to ask given such a loss. Overall, the Local Natives show growth on a heavy album that aims to find emotional healing after loss. Their acceptance of life's capacity to cause pain is made explicit with Hummingbird's final words on closer "Bowery": "The fall is so much faster, then You and I can ever climb...." This is as cathartic as it gets. Expand
  6. Jan 31, 2013
    Following through with the deserved critic acclaim of their last album, and pushing forward with a bit more emotional range. Its a fine tuned tribute to their clear harmonious comfort zone. It does sound like other many other artists genre relevant music, but through and true to their creative process these hipsters have put out another success. Enjoyable start to finish and will hold a place in my playlists for a long time to come. Expand
  7. Apr 8, 2013
    Local Natives blew me away with their debut record Gorilla Manor. I loved their influences and their sounds and the vocals. Not to mention the songwriting. It was an all around impressive debut. Hummingbird doesn't really follow the same approach their debut did, but what they lack in harder songs, they make up in more mature approach. The first three tracks are fantastic, but after it loses it's steam a bit. But it quickly picks up towards the third half of the record. The songwriting and lyrics are definitely worth a mention. All In All, Hummingbird doesn't shine above Gorilla Manor, but their improvements in songwriting is what it's really got going for it. Expand

See all 9 User Reviews