Local Natives Disappoints with New Album Sunlit Youth

California-Indie fit, Local Natives, has released their third studio album Sunlit Youth with Loma Vista Recordings. After the surprise success of their 2013 album, Hummingbird Local Natives proves that they are a standout in a genre that is saturated with generic bands. Multiinstrumentalist band members Taylor Rice and Kelcey Ayer showcase their talents with their diverse vocals and unique musical theories, bringing a refreshing new style to the indie rock genre.

Because I had listened to Local Natives before, upon first listen of Sunlit Youth, I expected to hear radical musicianship, thought-provoking lyrics, and raw emotion. However, when the opening track, “Villainy,” started, I was stunned by an overproduced song that seemed to try too hard to be different. It ends up sounding like every song in the Indie-Rock game.

Disappointed, I hoped that the next song, “Past Lives,” would offer something more pleasing, but the song seemed to be a replica of other Local Native songs, polluted with boring lyrics.

Hoping for a revival of the band I fell in love with, the song “Dark Days,” saw the Local Natives I once knew. With weird looping, timed riffage and a steady beat of the drums, Taylor Rice and Kelcey Ayer harmonize together in a pleasant song featuring Nina Persson.

With newfound courage to keep listening to the album, “Fountain of Youth” started off with similar looping played in “Darks Days.” With calm, acoustic guitar fingering and soothing vocals from Taylor Rice, the song ultimately fell flat with stale gang vocals, synthetic violins, woe is me lyrics, and predictable time signature changes.

Local Natives seemed to cater towards awkward musical loops in order to obtain a different sound, but the song “Masters,” yet again, has the same formulaic style of loops as the previous two songs. The song is reminiscent of many other indie bands, and makes the album sound the same throughout. The album does end with characteristic vocal deliveries and guitar remedies in “Jellyfish.”

“Jellyfish” sounds like a song that was written for Hummingbird, but was added to the album, so there is a mix between the classic sound that is expected from Local Natives alongside the generic sounds they have recently adopted. The same thing happens during “Coins,” a song that promises sanctuary, but disappoints.

Finally, we get out of the repetitive looping that characterizes this album. Local Natives employs a Coldplay-esque style with “Mother Emanuel,” but fails to achieve the band’s stadium-rock anthem quality and the song ends abruptly.

At this point in Sunlit Youth Local Natives seems to run out of things to recreate, as “Ellie Alice” follows eerily trans-harmonization between Rice and Ayer, and their multi-instrumental talents linking, creating a sound wave of melodic octaves. Instead, Sunlit Youth did the opposite with bland parent song structures and lyrics that were heard during “Dark Days.” The same transparency happens during the next song, “Psycho Lovers,” another song that emphasizes how unoriginal this album is; it seems like Local Natives is trying to combine two fan favorites, “Sun Hands” and “Three Months.” However, the song sounds so jumbled up that there is no point in listening. “Everything All At Once” gives a breath of fresh life as the drums take on a new pattern, the bass work is exciting, and Taylor Rice belches out uplifting lyrics. Unfortunately, the song has a great build-up and bridge that follows with the same gang vocals heard previously on this album. The plummet of the last song transcends to more repetitious looping and unnecessary backing vocals of which, unsurprisingly, is heard again…

Instead, Sunlit Youth did the opposite with bland parent song structures and lyrics that were heard during “Dark Days.” The same transparency happens during the next song, “Psycho Lovers,” another song that emphasizes how unoriginal this album is; it seems like Local Natives is trying to combine two fan favorites, “Sun Hands” and “Three Months.” However, the song sounds so jumbled up that there is no point in listening. “Everything All At Once” gives a breath of fresh life as the drums take on a new pattern, the bass work is exciting, and Taylor Rice belches out uplifting lyrics. Unfortunately, the song has a great build-up and bridge that follows with the same gang vocals heard previously on this album. The plummet of the last song transcends to more repetitious looping and unnecessary backing vocals of which, unsurprisingly, is heard again…

Unfortunately, the song has a great build-up and bridge that follows with the same gang vocals heard previously on this album. The plummet of the last song transcends to more repetitious looping and unnecessary backing vocals of which, unsurprisingly, is heard again…

The plummet of the last song transcends to more repetitious looping and unnecessary backing vocals of which, unsurprisingly, is heard again…

To be fair, “Sea of Years” does end nicely as it strays away from the electronic looping and focuses on distorted guitars and heavy hitting drums with Rice’s signature screeches. To say Sunlit Youth is a bad album is unfair, as it does contain musical talent and great vocal work with Taylor Rice and Kelcey Ayer, but this album is so over-produced that it actually disengages the listener. What made their breakout album, Hummingbird, so great was the consistent balance between trading off and harmonization between Rice and Ayer, and their

To say Sunlit Youth is a bad album is unfair, as it does contain musical talent and great vocal work with Taylor Rice and Kelcey Ayer, but this album is so over-produced that it actually disengages the listener. What made their breakout album, Hummingbird, so great was the consistent balance between trading off and harmonization between Rice and Ayer, and their multi instrumental talents linking, creating a sound wave of melodic octaves. Instead, Sunlit Youth did the opposite with bland instruments and mic-hogging from Taylor Rice.

What made their breakout album, Hummingbird, so great was the consistent balance between trading off and harmonization between Rice and Ayer, and their multi instrumental talents linking, creating a sound wave of melodic octaves. Instead, Sunlit Youth did the opposite with bland instruments and mic-hogging from Taylor Rice.

– Colt Pierce

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s