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Chances are, you've already heard of Hinds. The Spanish quartet have been working tirelessly, touring non-stop and releasing new songs on a regular basis. And today (January 8th), Hinds have finally dropped their debut album, Leave Me Alone.
Leave Me Alone is released at a time when surf rock is making a comeback. Anyone familiar with the bands coming out of Burger and Lollipop Records can attest to this. So, how do these ladies stay above the fray? They are able to incorporate other genres and styles all while keeping the laid-back vibes. The album is all lo-fi with jangled and fuzzed-up guitars. While they achieve a post-punk wave sound, there are still simple riffs that dance along the crest and keep the mood mellow. The dual vocals of guitarists Ana García Perrote and Carlotta Cosials keep the DIY aesthetic that is key to this style of music. Ms. Cosials sings with a bite, while Ms. Perrote's alto range gives a more languid feel.
And while it is easy to focus on the frontwomen, it is the rhythm section that holds the band together. The drums and bass help keep the swirl of guitars in orbit when they could easily just drift into nothingness. Amber Grimbergen fills the pocket and keeps the guitars in line. Ade Martín holds the grooves in check with slinking bass lines. It could be easy for her to just plunk along, but Ms. Martín keeps that underlying sizzle and rhythm going.
Album opener, 'Garden' is a great introduction to the album. The power-chord driven guitar intro gives way to a light riff and mellow groove; it's like the end of a rough set of waves - suddenly the tumult dies down and the natural current reasserts itself.
One way Hinds keep things interesting is through tempo changes. There are subtle dynamics throughout the record, but the key here is pace. On killer tracks like 'Fat Calmed Kiddos' and the wonderful 'Easy', the dreamy and steady guitars dissolve into rhythm and tempo changes for the drums and bass. This takes the tracks in a brief new direction, enough to keep the listener from drifting off. 'Easy' is by far one of the standout tracks on the album. There is a push and pull that shows the sophistication of these young musicians.
The ladies even channel a little, Is This It?-era Strokes on 'Castigadas En El Granero'. The raspy and flippant vocals, jangled guitars, power-pop rhythm and syncopation of the drums and bass channel the attitude of young adults still burning off that teenage angst. And on songs like this, it fits with the overall attitude of the record. I mean, it's called Leave Me Alone for a reason.
One track that came as a breath of fresh air was 'Solar Gap'. It is a mellow instrumental piece that comes halfway through the album. The intermission puts an interesting spin on how albums are being released nowadays. When vinyl was king, you had to have a way of signaling the transition from side one to side two. In the digital age, this has been lost on many modern albums. But the fact Hinds chose to put this kind of transition piece in shows forethought into making a cohesive album and not just a string of singles thrown together. The tracks go, 'Castigadas En El Granero', 'Solar Gap', and then the single 'Chili Town'. 'Solar Gap' helps separate the raucous mood of 'Castigadas' and the more '60s girl group inspired 'Chili Town'.
Yes, there are times when the songs start bleeding into one another. There were a few times where I had to double check the song title because I thought I'd already heard it. But then a new song will come on and the differences and subtleties make themselves more apparent. Part of the appeal of this style of music is that it is supposed to feel familiar.
Hinds have shown that they are a force to be reckoned with on Leave Me Alone. They have paid their dues with countless shows, honing their chops. They have recorded an album that brings the energy of a live show without feeling like they ignored the fact they had a studio at their disposal. There's something else about them that has always caught my attention- it seems like they are always smiling or happy. In interviews, photos, shows, they just seem genuinely happy to be playing music and seeing other people enjoy it along with them. It is this kind of outlook that will serve them well in the long run. They are young and are already carving out a name for themselves in the music world. Prepare for the journey with Hinds.
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