Local Natives, Suckers

Gorilla Manor, the ambitious debut album from the Los Angeles quintet Local Natives (pictured), is in one sense a pastiche of prevailing indie-pop elements, each song characterized by complex arrangements that ebb and flow, shift directions and rhythms, and invoke often impressionistic lyrics that flirt with deeper meaning. Quick contemporary comparisons suggest Grizzly Bear (massed vocals), Los Campesinos! (group ethos), My Morning Jacket (guitar figures), and Animal Collective (polyrhythmic pulse). But Local Natives manage to establish their own identity by putting it all together in consistently interesting ways. The three-part harmonies, for instance, vary from ragged shouting to soaring falsetto cloudbursts to swirling call-and-response chattering to stuff just short of classical choral. And that can be in a single song: "Sun Hands," for instance, is an appropriately catchy dose of sunny spirit that also sports a neat psychedelic guitar rave. Despite splinters of juju guitar and the odd reggae beat, it would be a stretch to attribute full-blown Afrobeat or other global influences to the band. But these guys like to stretch things, and Local Natives' restlessness makes compelling music. Brooklyn-based label mates Suckers, meanwhile, have their own unbridled pop ambitions. The quartet's forthcoming full-length debut, Wild Smile, is equally dense with grand, euphoric pop whose lush arrangements often suggest the touch of a postmodern Brian Wilson. At the same time, these Suckers are not averse to middling, inebriated sing-alongs like "It Gets Your Body Movin'," perfect for audience-band bonding amid fractured whistlers' choruses and intimations that ambulatory ambitions might prove problematic. 18+.
Mon., May 17, 8 p.m., 2010

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