Review: Hinds, “Leave Me Alone”

Spanish four-piece Hinds have enjoyed a monumental rise throughout the past two years. First earning attention throughout 2014 for their fun, refreshingly original take on garage rock, the women – Ana, Carlotta, Ade and Amber – from Madrid have well and truly arrived. Their vibe, though intrinsically DIY, has now been taken to the next level with the release of their label-backed-and-studio-produced debut album Leave Me Alone.

Garage rock has come up as one of the most saturated resurrected genres over the past few years, perhaps in response to the ever-increasing influx of electronic and pristinely produced indie acts sprouting up across the globe. It’s difficult, therefore, to stand out, but Hinds have caught our attention with their realness. While their attitude and music isn’t nonchalant in an arrogant sense, they definitely don’t care what you think. This is just four musicians having fun, doing what they want, with palpable enthusiasm and genuine glee.

From the bold opening chords of first track and lead single Garden, Leave Me Alone has all the freshness of a new band’s first release, without even a smidgen of pretension or smugness. Something remarkable about Hinds is how unremarkable they are; nothing they’re doing is new or groundbreaking, but that’s not the point. Leave Me Alone is akin to learning about these girls, about their lives and about the internal thoughts and conversations that we all know so well. It’s exciting, and fun, and funny, and almost confronting at times, to have those internalised thoughts spelt out in a song (one with occasionally adorable mispronunciations and Spanish inflections, at that.)

From the harmonies and dual melodies on tracks like Fat Calmed Kiddos, San Diego and Chili Town, odes to nervous infatuation, missed connections, drunk texts and flirting, “just to pretend I’m fine,” to the way that a single line can shift from childlike sweetness to a teenagers-in-the-garage ruckus on Garden and Castigadas En El Granero (“Grounded In The Barn,” an early version of which first showed up back in 2014 when the band were still known as Deers,) Hinds have totally succeeded in showcasing an energy and a fervour that rarely feels so genuine.

Interestingly, too much of a good thing doesn’t really work, and for me, listening to the album from start to end wasn’t the best way to enjoy it. While their sound is undoubtedly invigorating, after five or six songs in a row, they begin to feel like they’re doubling back, and it becomes less interesting. Listening to one or two at a time, however, is exhilarating and so enjoyable; indeed, each track feels like a snippet or snapshot of an anecdote, the memories of last night; of late night shenanigans, of those butterflies when you first meet someone, of lazy summer afternoons.

Recorded in a studio in Cadiz, the southernmost point in Spain, the album hasn’t lost the fiery mess that made their early demos so charming; Neither organised nor chaotic, Leave Me Alone is nevertheless a kind of organised chaos; fuzzy and deliberately off-beat at times, but never straying too far, never making it a challenging or annoying listen.

Hinds’ passion, and more importantly the realness that you can hear on the album, is exactly what makes it so good. Testament to this is the fact that in spite of some tracks feeling more filler than killer, the overall atmosphere is so bright, off-the-bat and down to earth, that you love listening to it regardless. The mess is endearing, and doesn’t take away from showing their talent, energy and charisma.

Through their music, and in turn their video clips and social media presence, Hinds wear their personality on their sleeves, and it just makes you wish they were your best friends. Leave Me Alone is undoubtedly special, and where they go next from here will be really, really interesting.

 Image: TheClosetFeminist