Hinds—Leave Me Alone
Few contemporary bands exemplify the peculiarities of the internet hype machine as well as Hinds. Thrust into view after a series of early demo singles, the all-girl Madrid foursome originally called themselves Deers until a similarly-named group threatened a lawsuit. From admiring fellow indie rockers like Mac Demarco, to being compared favorably to them, to earning (and enduring) the title “buzziest indie breakout”—in an Entertainment Weekly article no less—it’s hard to imagine that Hinds were prepared for all of this. Nonetheless, Carlotta Cosials, Ana Perrotethey, Ade Martin, and Amber Grimbergen seem to be taking their success well, riding the wave with irreverent glee.
Just when you think a genre has already had its moment—or at least is very crowded— some energetic newcomer springs up to insist otherwise. Hinds blends the garage-rock that found a home on the American West Coast with a heavy dose of Madrid sunshine. They have been accepted with open arms by the indie heavyweights they used to only look up to, finding friends from San Francisco to New York to London. With this in mind, Leave Me Alone seems like an odd title for Hinds’ debut full-length. It might be a sly statement in retaliation to the demanding and impatient blogosphere. In fact, several songs on the album have already seen the light of day for well over a year, online and in an EP titled “The Very Best of Hinds So Far.” In this way, the album seems slightly rushed, as if Hinds scrambled to release an album of some-old-some-new material so the press would “Leave [Them] Alone.” Despite this, the collection forms a cohesive whole.
Previous Hinds favorites sit alongside fresh material to keep old and new listeners engaged alike. “Chili Town” was one of my favorite songs last summer, and “Bamboo” was stuck in my head for at least four months last year. Both combine the signature Hinds sound of jangled guitar and energetic yell-singing with a warbled Spanish accent. Despite the stretch across time, the album weaves together well. “And I Will Send Your Flowers Back” is a rare moment of non-happiness, although the defiant girl-power is still present in this break-up slow burner. Its hint at sadness is a refreshing twist for the album, and suggests that Hinds are going for emotional depth in their newer material. “Solar” is a nice instrumental to split the middle, and demonstrates the band’s more toned-down and musical side. Of course, if the whole album were like this track, the charm would wear thin. Toward the end, the band is careful to pick the energy back up again, going for a jangly guitar-pop jam in “Walking Home,” a track that hits just the right tone for an album closer.
As much as is written about the album, the music is not meant to be intellectualized—it’s just fun. Overall, it’s the well-placed mood and deft timing that make Hinds stand out. The infectious energy is there to be felt, not thought about. In a sense, the music is just one of several buttresses to the Hinds persona. Raucous live shows, compellingly honest interviews, a playful relationship with the press and fans, and an unapologetic dedication to their carefree image round out the Hinds package. Frankly, the music itself is just catchy enough to carry the rest along, but without the other supports would (and potentially might) fall apart. Until then, Hinds’ contagious giddiness and girlish irreverence will remain a bright and refreshing spot on the map of rock music.