New Locals is a recently formed band comprised of Matt Mason (vocals/guitar), Zack Block (vocals/guitar), Matt Johnson (vocals/bass) and Grant Muskevitsch (drums). The band just released Dreams.
They have a relatively broad indie/alternative sound that brings to mind a number of like minded bands from the ’90s such as Pavement and Smashing Pumpkins to more contemporary acts like Grizzly Bear. Although the album doesn't push past its predecessors in significant ways to my ears the album casts a wide net that should primarily attract indie rock fans from multiple decades.
They start with a short ambient piece entitled “Wake.” It felt a little unnecessary to me. It creates a deep, pensive mood as if I was getting ready to listen something as cerebral as Radiohead or even as cosmic as Pink Floyd. The next couple of songs lay out the foundation for a grounded rock band starting with “Surrender.” It’s a song covered in comforting distortion. The verse almost feels blues-inspired compared to the soaring chorus.
The ’90’s vibes are strong on “Rebels Looting” and this was also the song that really go me on board. It’s a loose, catchy song and I thought Mason finds his range and delivery on this song. The J Mascis style guitar is great and ends up for making a clear highlight on the album.
The band has more success with clean guitars on “Pleased to Meet Ya.” That being said I love the fuzzy bass on the freak out section of the song. “Moonlight” is more funky and lively while “Fuzzy Feeling” take a familiar riff and spins it in a style similar to The White Stripes.
The band goes into atmospheric, shoegaze territory with “Dreams.” They end with “Sleep” which is extremely ambient to the point of feeling ephemeral while getting further away from a ’90’s alternative sound.
There is a fairly familiar aspect with debut albums (including this one) that I hear quite frequently where a band seems to be figuring out who they are through the process of making the album. There are attempts of many different styles which ultimately showcases their diversity but doesn't quite build a signature sound. On that note eight times out ten I will hear sophomore album showcase a more cohesive scope that displays a more concentrated foundation.
Overall, this is an impressive debut. The band has a lot going for them in many different departments. I’m looking forward to hearing more of their music as they evolve.
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