There's no escaping the scent of foxes that permeates Local Natives' first album, specifically Fleet Foxes. This LA quintet share the same open-throated harmonies and air of wide-eyed wonderment. The guitars tend to the electric, percussion is more prominent as an instrument of propulsion, and there's a tad more muscularity to the arrangements, exemplified by a tendency to go into half-shouted, half-chanted breakdowns – but the unsuspecting could be forgiven for thinking they are hearing demos for the Foxes' second record. As such, it's almost impossible to listen to without making comparisons, and Local Natives are not the beneficiaries of the process. It's like listening to the Vibrators after the Clash: decent enough on its own terms, but lesser and later – pop's cardinal sin.
Michael Hann is a freelance writer, and former music editor of the Guardian