Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
Live review: Local Natives
O2 Academy, Newcastle Saturday, March 6
Zesty string-tinged track ‘Camera Talk’ conjures wholesome thoughts of summery frolics, while ‘Sun Hands’ displays the band’s penchant for Vampire Weekend-esque clean-cut freshman-frenzy. ‘Airplanes’, meanwhile, is startlingly beautiful from the instant the drumbeats thud into action.
A tribute to singer Kelcey Ayer’s grandfather, who died before the two could meet, the track is full of rustic sentiment. Ayer sings of strangely affecting details such as souvenir chopsticks and sleek wooden photo frames with an exposed honesty, tying the chorus together with a raw cry of, “I love it all so much/I call, I want you back, back, back”. The delicate and careful ‘Shape Shifter’ comes to life onstage, with all five members of the band lending their soft vocals as a foundation for an almost embarrassingly rousing chorus.
The key to Local Natives’ emotive power is the way that Taylor and Rice, like sagely, bearded sirens, coax audiences to prick up their ears and open their hearts, in a set doused with sadness, but set alight with celebration. So good, they named themselves twice, indeed.
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