Rock music, especially if we’re talking in the indie vein, is rarely a place of smiles and parties (and if there are parties, someone will be sad). That’s why Hinds are so refreshing when it comes to rock music. It isn’t just their distance from the popular music scenes from the UK and US (the band are from Madrid), but they bring an entirely different perspective to the music they play. It isn’t entirely happy, they find moments of vulnerability and chaos among the party rock, but they always come back to an equilibrium, even if it’s an uneasy one. Thankfully, Hinds have not disappointed with their debut album. There was a moment leading up to Leave Me Alone where Hinds’ lo-fi rock could become repetitive, but there’s enough variation in classics like ‘Bamboo’ or future-classic ‘Garden’ in the deeper cuts to make Leave Me Alone more than just throwing whatever comes easy at a wall and seeing what sticks.
‘Warts’ is Hinds at their best. They kick off the track with what can only be described as a Hinds guitar line, bouncy and energetic. The new songs show how far Hinds have come since ‘Bamboo’, with less dependency on a catchy riff and more variation in the tracks. They rarely break the three minute mark, and even have an early-Beatles simplicity in plain but catchy songwriting. ‘Don’t let her close your eyes / Don’t let her waste your smile’ is the chorus of ‘Warts’, but it’s sung by more and more band members as each line progresses, which is a familiar Hinds trick, but it works for crowdpleasing party songs like ‘Warts’ or ‘Garden’, which has an intro that shows Hinds taking a slower pace in their songwriting and not throwing everything at the listener from the very start.
But the most surprising moment on Leave Me Alone has to go to ‘Solar Gap’, a beautiful instrumental that nobody expected Hinds to throw out. They drench the song in effects and it has a fuzzy mix over the top to make it sound even more like they recorded it on the fly than usual. The glockenspiel makes a welcome appearance, but it’s the winding guitar that takes centre stage. It’s fitting that the song is called ‘Solar Gap’ because it does sound like a ode to space from the 1960s that was beamed out and has made its way back to us. The taster singles that preceded the release of Leave Me Alone are arguably some of the less inspired tracks from the album, but serve as dance-worthy rock on ‘Chili Town’ and ‘Bamboo’, which at this point is probably the least interesting track on the album, but still has some fantastic lyrics.
The album is very concise, but it doesn’t suffer for it. There’s the chance that given more time, Hinds would push themselves more, but Leave Me Alone is a blueprint for the band where their scattered singles only hinted at what they could do. They are more than a party band. Through the sunny melodies, lyrics like ‘Still I can smell something failed’ on ‘Garden’ suggest there’s room for Hinds to explore darker territory instrumentally as well as lyrically. However, it would be wrong for Hinds to lose that sunniness too quickly, as it’s extremely welcome to see a band writing feelgood music that doesn’t make you want to vomit. Hinds strike a good balance because beyond analysing and dissecting their music thoroughly, it stands on its own as good music to listen to. That’s all anyone wants really.
Funnel Recommends: Garden / Warts / Solar Gap