Local Natives | Gorilla Manor

Frenchkiss (2010)
By CARRIE BATTAN  |  February 9, 2010
2.0 2.0 Stars


Remember when emo music and its myriad subsets were so laughably easy to caricature that people made band-name generators that would spit out stuff like "Love Runs False Across a Burnt April Sky"? A lot of indie rock is like that now, only less funny. And LA-based quintet Local Natives' debut LP, Gorilla Manor, is the best example yet.

The disc, which was released overseas in February to a relatively warm reception, is filled with material that can be described only by the phrases coined to characterize its contemporary influences: Afropoppy, orchestral and baroque, driven by catchy three-part harmonies, Fleet Foxes/Andrew Bird–inspired, yadda-yadda-yadda. The band channel Vampire Weekend in an effort to tug at the heartstrings of their projected fan base with all-too-relevant lyrics like (from a lovesick and drum-heavy "Airplanes") "I keep those chopsticks you had from when you taught abroad/Taught abroad in Japan."

And there's some Yeasayer-style chanting in "Sun Hands." With the exception of frontman Taylor Rice's droning, nasal vocals, Gorilla Manor is listenable and inoffensive, but it doesn't express a single aforementioned component of its genre with any gusto — it just tastes like two-day-old chicken.

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