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Review: Local Natives

PUBLISHED: 10:15 01 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:41 29 October 2010

Photos: Steve Hunt

Photos: Steve Hunt

Rob Garratt

Whatever you read about Local Natives, the first thing you are told to detect is a strong scent of Fleet Foxes. Sure, they have the same shimmering harmonies, but they inject a healthy slab of rock'n'roll too.

Norwich Arts Centre

Whatever you read about Local Natives, the first thing you are told to detect is a strong scent of Fleet Foxes.

Sure, they have the same shimmering harmonies with obvious intervals, but the Natives inject the Foxes' brand of airy, acoustic introspection with a healthy slab of rock n' roll.

It's all electric for starters, two layers of chiming reverb-laden guitars winding round each other, as much gritty psychedelic blues as pastoral picking.

Fleshed out with a smattering of organ and Bad Seeds-equse funeral march percussion, the sound veers from contemplative country balladry to ballsy, jagged, post-punk freak outs.

Maybe the edge comes from their location - they hail from further south down the American west coast, Los Angeles to the Foxes' Oregon.

The quintet's debut LP only hit the shelves in their homeland a week ago, but Gorilla Manor has been picking up steady sales this side of the Atlantic for nearly four months.

Sunday's Arts Centre gig was a sell out - a room crammed with cheque shirts and rimmed glasses - but between songs you could hear a pin drop and Taylor Rice, the closest the vocal-swapping collective has to a frontman, wryly declared it is the “politest crowd we've ever had.”

For all the band's catchy yet soulful, complicated but not oblique tunes it is those tender Fox-esque harmonies, though, that stick the Local Natives ahead of the swelling indie/Americana throng; aching, yearning and epic, like four ragged songbirds singing in your ear.

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