You know what I really like? The bands that feel familiar and comfortable even when it’s been a long, long time since you’ve listened to them. They’re like soft, worn-in denim or your favourite sweater that’s thin from so much wear. They’re cozy and warm and they maybe make you feel a little nostalgic, but in a good way. That’s how Local Natives feel to me. The instant I hit play on their new single “Past Lives,” I felt immersed in the summer of twenty-fourteen and in the last dregs of sunlight and in an over-excited music festival crowd. And I loved it straight away.
“Past Lives” sounds like a Local Natives song. They haven’t completely reimagined their sound or experimented as much as they possibly could, and in this case I really like that. It seems like they’re growing enough under the identity that they’ve possessed for years. This new song is enveloping and cozy. It’s easy to listen to but it’s so full of passion and honesty and angst that you can’t bear to tear yourself away from it. It’s immersive.
“Past Lives” is hymnal. The opening vocals are angelic and the kind that really make you pay attention. Then the drums and the synth come in and you could just cry with how beautiful the song feels and how lucky you are to get to listen to it. It’s earnest, the type of song that feels like it’s tearing your heart straight out of your chest in one go. The lyrics are pleas and cries for help, but they’re somehow hopeful. Somehow, there’s still something there reminding you that there’s more to go and that you’re not done yet. Your past lives exist, but so do your future ones. So does your current one.
Local Natives did a good job on this one. “Past Lives” is life-affirming and the kind of track you want to listen to on repeat until you can feel it seeping into your soul. It feels good. It feels important. You can tell that the song is a big deal for the band, that it’s been a long time coming and that they’re proud of it. And honestly, that’s the only reason you need to stop what you’re doing and go listen to it.