Leave Me Alone Is Out Now Via Lucky Number.
January, what is the point of it? Christmas over, wages already spent, nights still dark and days still freezing. The only thing to do to get over the winter blues is immerse yourself in the bounty of brilliant albums that always come out at this time of year, hoping to find either something gloomy enough to complement your miserable mood, or perky enough get you geed up for the more exciting times ahead.
Spanish group Hinds certainly fall into the latter bracket with their debut album Leave Me Alone. The four girls from Madrid are barely of legal drinking age, and it’s a record in which their love of simply being young and in a band really shines through.
Hinds seem to be getting regular comparisons to Haim, but I think that’s just because they’re girls, similar to how every guitar and drum duo seems to be likened to The White Stripes regardless of what they sound like. I hear more of the echoes of lo-fi heavyweights like Pavement and Yo La Tengo, and while there’s a clear American influence to their garage indie sound, there’s a notable Hispanic vibe too. Whether it’s the broken English vocals, the guitars that often sound plucked rather than strummed or the shuffling, maraca-like drums that provide the backbone here and there, the album showcases a band that know both their roots and their influences.
Opening track and new single ‘Garden’ pretty much sums up what Hinds are in a nutshell, and it’s a song that packs a hell of a lot into a little over four minutes. The stomping intro, the drawling vocals of the verse, the bright and yearning guitars and a great singalong chorus helped along by a riff perhaps borrowed from Pavement’s ‘Summer Babe’ – right from the first few seconds, the atmosphere is set.
Things are a little more stripped down as we move on to ‘Fat Calmed Kiddos’. Vocalists Carlotta Cosials and Ana Garcia Perrote don’t so much harmonise as try to shout each other down. It’s hard to tell which (if either) is the lead vocalist, and if we’re being honest neither is a brilliant singer, but for the most part it doesn’t matter. In fact, their vocal toing and froing is a lot of fun on tracks like this one and ‘Chili Town’.
Fourth track ‘Easy’ is the sort of song I can listen to again and again. What starts off sounding like another slow-paced slacker track is quickly dissected by a speedy, seesawing instrumental that goes from bright and high-pitched, to muffled and growly. There are some awesomely idyllic instrumental sections on this album, and this particular track is an early contender for a 2016 playlist.
‘Castigadas En El Granero’ (which means ‘Punished in the Barn’, my Spanish A-Level tells me with absolutely no help from Google Translate) was released over a year ago, at which point the band were still called ‘Deers’. It’s another one with the sort of authoritative intro that pricks your ears, before another enjoyable vocal face-off between Cosials and Perrote ensues. Perhaps the best moment between the pair comes at the end of ‘And I Will Send Your Flowers Back’, when even a few giggles slip in, just showing that this is one-take stuff that celebrates its spontaneity and underproduction.
It is, for whatever reason, one of those albums that’s not easy to actively listen to all the way through. The vocals wear a bit thin on some tracks, there are parts where you think “I’m sure I’ve heard this bit before”, and ‘Walking Home’ isn’t the strongest track ever to bring an album to a close.
But this is lo-fi, and the cobbled together, ‘just go with it’ feel is what makes the genre great. After all, Guided By Voices created some classic albums just by throwing together whatever bits of songs they could find lying about, so maybe we should heed Leave Me Alone’s title and appreciate what the girls have come up with – a perfect lazy day album that will have you longing for Britain’s three days of summer, or an EasyJet flight to somewhere less shit.
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