The Local Natives are an interesting band, combining elements of Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, Animal Collective, and even Phoenix, while taking their own space in the realm of late-2010 indie rockers that focus on tribal rhythms and rich harmonies. My favorite Local Natives record however, is their sophomore release Hummingbird, a record that bathes in lavish, complex melodies that mostly feature the amazing voice of Kelcey Ayer.
Jaws of Love., Ayer’s solo release, steps back from the latest, more digitally produced Natives’ record Sunlit Youth, and returns to the days of Hummingbird, with Ayer going for more of a minimalist approach. Unable to match the percussive intensity and lush harmonies, Ayer sits at the piano with light digital percussion and reverb, for more of a comfortable and personal project than one of complex vanity. “This album to me is like a love letter to the piano,” he said at his live show at Park Church Co-Op in Brooklyn, NY, “it’s just so dynamic and visceral.” The church was the perfect venue for the performance, acoustic and reverberant, filling the entire room lit by the warmth of the Christmas tree and intimate pew seating.
Titled Tasha Sits Close to the Piano, the record was named by his wife after their dog Tasha’s location to Kelcey as he wrote the record, songs that feature quiet memories and emotional moments with his wife, a love made even more intimate by the instrumentation and tone of the album. There’s nothing profound to be mused upon here, but that also shouldn’t be anything expected from a record named after their pet entitled Tasha Sits Close to the Piano. The record instead, features lyrics such as “You know that I’m the one that you can count on/I’m your nightlight,” and “Every drink is gonna spill just a little/Your love is all I need.” It’s a love-letter packaged in the simplest form, and that’s all it needs to be.
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