In California, there is a little blue building that serves as the band Local Natives’ practice space. This is where they produced their indie rock album Hummingbird in 2013. Local Natives is an indie rock band that was formed back when the members were still in high school. Although the band is based out of Los Angeles, they released their first album, Gorilla Manor, in the United Kingdom in 2009, which came out in the United States in 2010. Local Natives has not only opened for bands such as Kings of Leon and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but have also headlined at popular Chicago music festival, Lollapalooza.
Three years after the release of Hummingbird, Local Natives has finally released their third album Sunlit Youth. To celebrate, they held a surprise concert on the roof of that same little blue building.
Compared to their first album, Sunlit Youth is upbeat, with a style that excites the mind, as opposed to Hummingbird’s more somber and serious tone that causes one to reevaluate their life. Local Natives is the arsenal of musical instruments that bombard your eardrums with harmony. Their new album does this in spades.
As with their previous two albums, Sunlit Youth offers up 12 tracks. The album opens up with “Villainy,” a song with instrumentals reminiscent of fellow indie rock band Panama’s signature style. “Villainy” speaks about wanting to start fresh in a new place, but acknowledging how difficult that can be. The end of the song features a smooth transition that leads to a brief spoken word piece—an essence that feels similar to folk rock.
One popular song off the album, “Past Lives,” discusses our tendency to dream of endless possibilities, although in reality only one thing is certain. This song also pays homage to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles—reminding the band where they come from—in the verse, “Take me/To Dorothy Chandler tonight/And I’ll find you/Reflected 100 times.”
The pavilion was named after Dorothy Buffum Chandler, who was the frontrunner of a movement that worked toward establishing a proper music center in Local Natives’ hometown of Silver Lake in Los Angeles. A reflection pool—later replaced with a fountain—was built in her honor.
“Fountain of Youth” speaks to remembering one’s fleeting youth as they grow older, which is a track that will surely resonate with new students on campus who feel overwhelmed with the transition into college life. Listeners will learn that growing older does not mean you will lose the sense of wonder and joy once experienced in youth.
It’s uncertain to say where Local Natives will go next, but if the past five years are any indication of what’s to come—and if there really are endless possibilities as “Past Lives” ponders—then we’re in for a treat.