Review: Hinds - Leave Me Alone
Ever thought that your music library just sounds a bit too... well, nice?
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Slickly produced chart toppers are all very well, but sometimes songs with all the edges rounded off won’t quite cut it. Thankfully, Hinds are here to help with ‘Leave Me Alone’, a debut album that blends garage rock with energetic indie pop and sounds about as scruffy as music gets.
Hinds are an all-female quartet from Madrid, and the influence of their sun-drenched hometown shines through on tracks like the frantic but joyous 'Castigadas En El Granero' (which translates, rather worryingly, as ‘punished at the barn’).
There is at times a woozy sway to the songs, with an almost country vibe on opener 'Garden', but the band spend most of the album on highly energetic form, unrestrained by finesse and occasionally subtlety. They’ve often been compared to the likeable garage rock of The Strokes, but you’d have to remove a few more layers of polish to arrive at Hinds. They do sound a mess, but mostly in a good way.
Singers Carlotta Cosials and Ana García Perrote are definitely musical marmite. Their vocals certainly aren’t easy on the ear in a traditional sense, often coming across as nasal and a bit too shout-y. Stick with it though, and you’ll find Cosials and Perrote start growing on you.
True, they’re a far cry from the dulcet tones of Ellie Goulding, or anyone else with a vaguely soothing voice, but this just make their attitude and energy are all the more apparent. Just listen to them screaming ‘please don’t leave me’ at the end of 'Fat Calmed Kiddos!'
There are times when the vocals can be grating, but on the slower and sadder 'And I Will Send Your Flowers Back', the women’s abrasive voices capture the bruised persona they’re trying to convey, akin to some tracks on Lykke Li’s last album. The mixture of husky smoothness and frenzied shouting on the infectious 'San Diegio' is just right, and it’s hard not to be won over when they both go full throttle.
Their lyrics are enjoyably down to earth too. We find Cosials and Perrote on the pull ('Chili Town'), taking drugs on the beach ('San Diego') and threatening to walk out on boyfriends that don’t appreciate them enough ('Bamboo'). They can be spot on, such as on the intimate 'I’ll Be Your Man', in which they essentially tell a potential lover to stop playing around and get on with it. They can also come out with fabulous one-liners, concluding on 'Walking Home' that they ‘even like the way you hide your fantasies’, surely the ultimate form of endearment.
Whilst you’re not going to get anything like the finely crafted songs of Foals or the efficient, muscular bangers of Royal Blood, Hinds aren’t just roughness and energy. There’s generally a yearning guitar melody that drifts above the chugging chords, which is brought to the fore on pretty instrumental track 'Solar Gap'.
In the end, it’s fair to say Hinds won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But they’re definitely worth a try, if only to add a little chaos to your musical palate.