Local Natives released two new singles in anticipation of its fourth full-length album “Violet Street” that drops April 26. “When Am I Gonna Lose You” and “Cafe Amarillo” show a surprising return to form, coming back to the band’s previous indie-rock sound with more self-reflective subjects for its songs, along with new production methods compared to its last single, “The Only Heirs.”
Since its 2016 release, “Sunlit Youth,” Local Natives has embraced a more stadium-indie feel for its music in an upbeat and positive way, straying from its despair-driven releases in “Hummingbird” and “Gorilla Manor.” In “When Am I Gonna Lose You” and “Cafe Amarillo,” the group returns to its afro-pop inspired roots and continues to move forward and make music that speaks to them.
“Cafe Amarillo” is a groovy reintroduction to the Los Angeles-based band with an energetic drum beat and an active bass line. The syncopated synth parts, minimalistic guitar licks and the typical augmented three-part harmonies that the Local Natives have been known for, gives an airy and open sound an almost uncertain feeling. The lyrics describe the complexity, ambiguity and confusion of a long-distance relationship that leaves the two people in a gray area emotionally. The song, nonetheless, contrasts the emotional nature of the lyrics with its upbeat and catchy accompanying music.
The single also has a music video directed by Van Alpert. The scene is color graded to seem just a bit more gray than it would be naturally. The video shows the band driving around, as well as playing on an outdoor stage in the mountains as the sun sets. It also features flashes from the “When Am I Gonna Lose You” music video.
“When Am I Gonna Lose You” has an upbeat tempo and exposed vocals. The song starts with drums, piano and a three-part harmony, then moves into the first pre-chorus with solo piano and vocals by the primary songwriter, the pianist and vocalist Taylor Rice. The song incorporates active guitar parts with the lead often mimicking the main vocals and also features vocal counter-melodies to the main melody. In a press release to Under The Radar, Rice said the inspiration for the song came from his recent marriage.
“I found myself in an incredible relationship that was great on so many levels, but I always felt like it was going to go away, fall apart and crumble,” Rice said. “This song is me diving into murky emotions of anxiety and doubt in the middle of love and joy.”
The song’s music video, directed by Alpert and starring Kate Mara, portrays the actress flashing between different points in her life. Mara slowly gets increasingly boring and muted in her movements and expression, her clothes and routine highlight the transition from fun and outgoing to a predictable and domestic life that seems inevitable. It follows Rice’s anxiety about his future and marriage. The video concludes with “turn around” on a screen in front of Mara, cutting to black as she turns around. It ends ambiguously, because for the songwriter, the story is still being told.
Although it’s only a taste of what’s to come in the band’s future, the two singles leave listeners in hopeful anticipation for the release of its fourth album.
Contact Matt Mee at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.