Flight plan

June 13, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 Photos by Nick Tomecek

 

Local Natives’ second studio album “Hummingbird” rides a turbulent emotional landscape of numbness interchanged with life-altering pain.

The band members stand on an airplane wing on the album art. When I see it, I envision a flight attendant stating, “Ladies and gentleman, please return to your seats and fasten your seat belts. Expect a bumpy ride.”

In the record’s first single, “Breakers,” the song’s subject tries to convince himself nothing is wrong, comparing it to trying to strike a match that's soaking wet. Trying to shake the feelings this record elicits is of the same difficulty level.

I can feel my hand slinging the match across the box while I watch nothing happen.

The indie-rock record is brilliantly sad.

It’s as if Local Natives lifted a veil to reveal the darker subtext only hinted at in the lyrics of its debut album “Gorilla Manor.” It’s reported that “Hummingbird’s” title and much of its lyrics are a result of the death of Kelcey Ayer’s—vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist—mother.

For me, the song to linger the longest was “Heavy Feet.” The track paints a picture of a deep conversation happening at a waterfront party with fireworks.

 

You were holding a styro-foam cup
Held between your teeth
Telling me how you're going to outlive your body

—“Heavy Feet”

 

As the drums mimic the sound of, I imagine, 1,000 footsteps marching, the conversationalists contemplate life’s purpose and direction. With “Black Spot,” the point is moot.

 

I’m dying wrong the song says, as fear nags someone approaching imminent death. Throughout the track, I can feel terror fall across the piano keys.

 

And if I didn't know 
To be afraid
The faces made me sure that I do now

—“Black Spot”
 

And, it’s with that song I feel my heart break.

If the deeply somber lyrics don’t break yours, too, the music video to the album’s opening track, “You & I,” certainly will, especially if you’re a dog person. Like the album, the video still offers a glimmer of hope.

Local Natives’ 2013 album climbs the altitude of pain in a relaxed anguish, so I expected a calm live performance. But, when I heard it performed live, the group unleashed its instruments in a powerful rock performance.

The Nationals’ Aaron Dessner produced “Hummingbird,” which perhaps partially explains why I like it so much. But, I also have a deep-rooted appreciation for a thoroughly sad record.

When you fly with “Hummingbird,” prepare for the final descent.

 

You can't tell if the ceiling's rising
Or if the floor's falling out.

—“Bowery”

 

The outfit:

Earrings - Forever 21

Choker, rings - SUGARFIX by BaubleBar, Target

Top - H&M

Skirt - H&M

Heels - Calvin Klein

Backpack - Mossimo Supply Co., Target

 

 

Hey, I'm Savannah. I collect records, and they collect dust. Like my preferred media form, I strive to not become obsolete. I created Off the Record as a way to turn my mind inside out, into something visual and tangible. One is the loneliest number, so I asked my friends to join. 

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