As suggested by its title, Local Natives’ third album finds the Los Angeles five-piece in a happier place than they were for 2013’s despair-tinged Hummingbird. Unfortunately, it makes for less absorbing listening. The change isn’t just in tone: where once they were in thrall to Fleet Foxes and the National, their newly emphasised polite euphoria (“We can do whatever we want!” sings Kelcey Ayer on Fountain of Youth) is too frequently backed by Coldplay-esque stadium indie, albeit with less predictable rhythms. It’s not without its moments, most notably the gently seductive Dark Days. But despite plenty of clever ideas, too much of Sunlit Youth sounds so polished it becomes oddly disengaging.
Phil Mongredien works on the Guardian's opinion desk. He also reviews albums for Q magazine