Local Natives: But I’ll Wait For You (Loma Vista) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 21st, 2024  

Local Natives

But I’ll Wait For You

Loma Vista

May 13, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Los Angeles indie stalwarts Local Natives have long been admired for their rich vocal tapestries and elegant arrangements. New album But I’ll Wait For You continues to refine their carefully sculpted sound, moving the band toward a studio mastery that is highly impressive but occasionally unsatisfying.

The album is pitched as a companion piece to the 2023 release Time Will Wait For No One, “Maybe not an answer to a question but an exhale to an inhale,” in the band’s words. Opening track “Alpharetta” certainly sounds like some sort of release; gently plucked acoustic guitar floats by for a few bars in the shadow of what sounds like a pedal steel line (but probably isn’t) before a cascade of perfect harmonies arrives with such sweetness that they practically warm your insides. It’s a template that gracefully expands across the rest of the record as smooth keyboard washes, subtly propulsive rhythms, and restrained guitar provide a lush backdrop for the band’s signature vocal collages.

And these guys can certainly sing. Whether it’s the perfect alchemy of Taylor Rice and Kelcey Ayer trading lines on hooky lead single “April” or the soaring Beach Boys-like croons that introduce “But I’ll Wait For You,” the pristine, sun-baked glow is the same.

That such a highly polished sound can be a double-edged sword barely needs stating, but the danger is real; the surface of the songs are so luminous that the record doesn’t so much make an impact as leave a vaguely pleasant impression. You wonder if anything is at stake underneath all the beauty.

Turns out there are some wounded insights here; you just have to look beneath the sheen. There is a kind of bittersweet acceptance running through the album, a cataloguing of moments that disappear the instant they’re recognized as something special. The searching zeroes out to the title track as Rice makes a simple plea, a statement so unadorned it’s taken him the entire record to get to; “I want something that will last.” (www.localnatives.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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