Hummingbird (Local Natives album)

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Hummingbird
Hummingbird (local natives album).jpg
Studio album by Local Natives
Released January 29, 2013 (US)
Recorded 2011-2012
Genre Indie rock
Length 44:06
Label Infectious
Frenchkiss Records
Producer Aaron Dessner
Local Natives chronology
Gorilla Manor
(2009)
Hummingbird
(2013)

Hummingbird is the second studio album by American indie rock band Local Natives, released on January 29, 2013 on Frenchkiss Records in the US, and on Infectious Records in Europe. Produced by The National guitarist Aaron Dessner, the album was preceded by the single, "Breakers", and reached #12 on the Billboard Top 200. The song "Mt. Washington" was also featured in the 2015 video game Life Is Strange.

Background and recording[edit]

In 2011, bass guitarist Andy Hamm departed from the band, with the remaining members deciding to continue as a four-piece. Regarding his departure, vocalist and keyboardist Kelcey Ayer stated, "Parting with Andy was really hard for us," while vocalist and guitarist Taylor Rice elaborated, stating, "It definitely put us in an uncomfortable place, so that we could try new things. With the first record, we were so concerned with making sure we could do everything live, but with this one there was a cool kind of freedom to be like, 'Let's just try stuff.'"

While on tour with The National, the band became close with guitarist Aaron Dessner, who subsequently asked if he could produce their next studio album. Drummer Matt Frazier noted, "One night, after maybe drinking a little bit too much, he was like, 'Maybe I should work with you guys.' We were like, 'Sure, buddy.' After meeting with all these other producers, it just seemed like we should work with somebody we really get along with and respect as a songwriter." The band relocated to Dessner's home in New York City, with vocalist and keyboardist Kelcey Ayer, stating "It was awesome because we stayed upstairs on the two top floors, and he and his family are downstairs, and the studio is in the back. It's this really tiny space, but it was so convenient to us."

Writing and composition[edit]

The album's lyrical content was inspired by the recent death of Kelcey Ayer's mother and the departure of bassist Andy Hamm, with Ayer noting, "[My mother's passing] was definitely really hard, [that] and the Andy thing and there were also relationship issues and weird stuff that impacted the record and the mood of it and what we sang about. We didn’t set out to make a darker or sadder record, but we always write, for the most part, based on our experiences, so it’s a kind of window into the last few years."[1]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 77/100[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
Aesthetic Magazine Toronto 4/5 stars link
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[3]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[4]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars link
SPIN (8/10) link
Pitchfork Media (8.1/10) link
The Music Service (8/10) link
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[5]
Under The Gun Review 6.5/10[6]

Hummingbird received positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 77, based on 32 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[2]

Paste Magazine stated "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".[7] Pitchfork's review concluded that "With Hummingbird, Local Natives have made a thoughtful, lovely album with small gestures that provide great rewards".[8] CMJ's review states that "they were scratching at the surface of their emotional capabilities on their debut. With Hummingbird, Local Natives show that they can dig deeper".[9]

AV Club stated that it "is an album of hidden rewards, a record to pick and choose tracks from in order to purvey a single feeling or contribute to the perfect mixtape. What it’s not, though, is a cohesive, compelling whole".[10] Magnet offered a critique of the album, stating "Unwilling or unable to ascend the vertiginous heights of 2009 debut Gorilla Manor, Hummingbird instead buries its beak in the sand."[11]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "You & I"   4:22
2. "Heavy Feet"   4:07
3. "Ceilings"   2:56
4. "Black Spot"   4:41
5. "Breakers"   4:09
6. "Three Months"   4:30
7. "Black Balloons"   3:08
8. "Wooly Mammoth"   3:27
9. "Mt. Washington"   3:19
10. "Colombia"   4:50
11. "Bowery"   4:37
Total length:
44:06

Personnel[edit]

Local Natives

  • Taylor Rice - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, bass
  • Kelcey Ayer - lead vocals, keyboards, piano, percussion, guitar, harmonium, glockenspiel
  • Ryan Hahn - lead guitar, bass, keyboards, backing vocals, mandolin
  • Matt Frazier - drums and percussion

Additional Musicians

  • Aaron Dessner - additional guitar on "Heavy Feet", claps, additional bass and additional guitar on "Breakers", additional organ on "Three Months", bass on "Black Balloons" and "Wooly Mammoth", tambourine, bass pedals, organ and MS-20 on "Mt. Washington"
  • Raymond Richards - upright bass on "Mt. Washington"
  • Yuki Numata - violin on "Heavy Feet", "Three Months" and "Colombia"
  • Beth Meyers - viola on "Heavy Feet", "Three Months" and "Colombia"
  • Clarice Jensen - cello on "Heavy Feet", "Black Spot", "Three Months" and "Colombia"
  • Dave Nelson - trombone on "You & I", "Heavy Feet", "Three Months", "Mt. Washington" and "Colombia"

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/28/local-natives-new-album-hummingbird-reveals-darker-tone-born-of-tragedy.html
  2. ^ a b Metacritic score Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "MC" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ Collar, Matt. "Hummingbird – Local Natives". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Mongredien, Phil. Local Natives: Hummingbird – review. The Guardian. 26 January 2013. Retrieved 05 May 2015.
  5. ^ Dolan, Jon. Local Natives: Hummingbird. Rolling Stone. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 05 May 2015.
  6. ^ "REVIEW: Local Natives- 'Hummingbird'=Under the Gun Review". January 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Local Natives: Hummingbird". Paste. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Hummingbird". Pitchfork. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "Hummingbird". CMJ. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Local Natives: Hummingbird". AV Club. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Metacritic Reviews: Hummingbird (2013)". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 February 2013.