On May 1, Los Angeles indie rock band Local Natives released its newest project, Violet Street Remixes. The LP consists of new mixes of songs from Violet Street, which was released April 26, 2019, almost exactly a year ago. Violet Street is the band’s fourth album, and it demonstrates the growth of Local Natives, which has begun to move beyond Southern California indie rock and toward more experimental sounds. The decision to remix the entire album and release it exactly a year later is a powerful statement within itself. While the project and its timing feel distinctly nostalgic, the actual content of the album breathes new life and possibilities into Local Natives’ repertoire.
Violet Street Remixes opens with “Vogue (Gum & Ginoli Remix).” Composed of a glittering cascade of violin strings and soft vocals, the song begins with a mellow rhythm of electronic beats and occasional psychedelic syncs. As it meanders through this unique blend of indie rock, the song introduces techno beats, all underlined by jittery synths and jarring reverberations. While the lyrics are practically indiscernible, this is clearly the remix’s intention, as the words are warped and stretched to create an instrumental experience, rather than a lyrical one.
Following “Vogue (Gum & Ginoli Remix)” is “Café Amarillo (Jonathan Wilson Remix).” Departing from the softness of the original “Café Amarillo,” this remix approaches the deep emotions of its counterpart with electronic experimentation and a groovy beat. Amid an urgent thudding of drums, psychedelic vocals and steady bass strings comes the lyric, “Oh my love,” sung with sweet clarity. This remix draws upon the expansive qualities of the original by layering ultraclear vocals upon an intermingling of beats, marrying the sweet with the raw.
One of the most unique and enjoyable songs on the album is “Megaton Mile (Weval Remix).” Filled with a beautiful array of electronic beats, synths, drums and bass strings, the song moves elegantly through an array of emotions. Sticking to the original melodies and instrumentals, the song features fast-paced, underlying drums with beautifully heavy bass strings layered on top. Additionally, this remix adds an altered synthesis to each instrument, transforming the song into a fun and mysterious exploration of rhythm. Overall, this song remix is a beautiful blend of the old and the new.
“Gulf Shores (Tiger & Woods Remix),” is a more disappointing addition to the album. While the original contained heavy electronic and pop influences, the remix is entirely composed of scattered club beats. Although most of the album is able to combine an engaging mixture of indie rock and experimental synthesis, this song relies almost entirely on techno beats, making for an unexciting and easily forgettable experience.
Violet Street Remixes features three different remixes of “When Am I Gonna Lose You,” one of the singles from Violet Street. Remixed by Joey Pecoraro, Nick Waterhouse and DJDS, each track takes a unique approach to the mixture of fear and happiness that the original synthesizes.
Waterhouse takes a groovy, reggae-inspired approach for this track, bringing in substantial drums and booming bass strings. The lyrics themselves can be heard clearly at first, but the vocals melt into a more echoing sound following a series of guitar riffs. The fearful lyrics, “When am I gonna lose you,” combined with the upbeat drums and strings make for a bittersweet experience.
In comparison to Waterhouse’s remix, Pecoraro’s is far darker, keeping to the essence of the original song. The drums, strings and keys in this remix, combined with soft synth, are slow and deep, delivering a seriousness to the song.
DJDS infuses its remix with sweet, subtle whistles, measured keys and high energy beats. These simple but energetic instruments provide a strong background for the song’s beautiful vocals and powerful lyrics. Overall, the sweet simplicity of this remix brings youth and energy to a song about happiness and loss.
Violet Street Remixes combines the nostalgia of the past, the excitement of the present and the possibilities of the future. However, the album does fall short on some songs that lack creativity. But as an overall project, Violet Street Remixes delivers new perspectives and unique experimentation, illustrating that Local Natives is more than just a Southern California indie rock band.