I cant help but revert back to the time when the word "risk" had no meaning...when time was an ironic thing of the past...and when chivalry was truly a laughing matter. For me, that was around second year of college at the University of Virginia, where bluegrass blared carelessly through the air waves and cheap beer rolled like tumble weed through dimly lit streets. It was about then when I discovered Local Natives' Gorilla Manor as less an alternative rock album and more the refreshing glacier blue Gatorade at the end of a 10k run in the sands of the Sahara desert. Now if I'm not mistaken, which I'm not because I looked it up, "Gorilla Manor" was actually the name of the band's grungy humble abode where the band wrote the album; back in their Orange Country days when Styrofoam noise cancelers and frequented couch crashers was totally a thing. Perhaps my affinity for the album is in part a product of shared experiences; social solidarity if you will.
Anyway, it was a late and sweaty Friday night of pregaming the day when my musical library took a drastic turn for the better. On UVA's famous 'Corner,' where all of the boozed up Cavaliers go to blow off the academic steam from the week, my even sweatier friend insisted on attending some hipster shindig around the bend. Exhausted (because back then partying in 5-inch heels made full-on sense), I unenthusiastically trudged behind her and and the rest of the sheep. As we were entering the steamy unairconditioned pad, the expected smell of moldy wet clothes hit my nose. But before I could grab my friend and put on the "I'm-fatigued-and-want-to-head-home-and-crash" face, the symphonic rumble of a bubbly tropical guitar roared through the hand-me-down speakers, followed by the wildly free shakes of the song's unmoving rice-shakers. All of a sudden my headache said "Au revoir"...all of a sudden I was wearing flats. I decided to stay because I needed to know whose enchanting song was blaring through the airwaves...and I needed to know fast.
Now, if my beat up Motorola Droid Razor was good for anything in its cracked-out life (pun intended), it was to house the mobile app SHAZAM for desperate times like these. It seemed to take a lifetime to recognize the titillating song, as precious irretrievable seconds elapsed. Once the song finally popped up, I realized that my beloved new favorite song, was actually a remix! Band: Local Natives; Song:Stranger Things- Wallpaper Remix. Pfft, I didn't mind, the song was an undeniable gem. After researching the song's natural state, one of my now favorite bands, Local Natives was discovered.
Satisfied, I returned home and listened to Local Native's orginal "Stranger Things." I think I blasted the song in my speakers, I swear about two dozen times before feeling the skin burning glares of my roommate from across the living room. Fair. Thus, I moved on to discovering the remainder of the album, Gorilla Manor as one of the best alternative rock albums of all time. As redundant as the band may be for their band name, there's nothing verbose about that 2010 debut album. In the record they milk the endless possibilities of the characteristically vast genre known as alternative rock. They're not afraid to take the listener out of their comfort zone...song by song, lyric by lyric, and even note by note. It was around track five of the twelve song album that I stopped expecting anything from these guys. A song like "Wide Eyes" can pluck the heart strings of individuals from all walks of life with it's breezy tremelo guitar fingering and intensely agreeable drum rimming. And then you stumble on a song like "Cards & Quarters," with a Phil Collins inspired piano and bare boned harmonies that'll help you realize that you have know idea the kind of band you're dealing with. Barbaric, Unapologetic, Gamey yet Quaffed is how I would only begin to describe the surrealist art work that is Gorilla Manor.
I faithfully listen to the album for chances to catch new nuances and subtleties that continually reveal themselves with each new listen. In fact, I'm listening to it right now. Simply put, Gorilla Manor is a timeless piece of work that is sure to stand the test of time.