Obviously Bowie’s parting gift was last week’s main talking point. Blackstar will probably, and justly, leave deep imprints on the year that lies in front of us. However, the wheels of the industry keep on turning and forces us to look beyond all sobbing. Luckily the Madrid based indie rock chicks of Hinds offer us 2016’s first bright welcoming gift.
When squinting through Hinds’ short palmares the band’s run-up to this first studio album was not without any growing pains. The band experienced a short hiatus, where threatened by a legal action from another similarly named band to change their name from Deers to Hinds (which is the female name for deer), grew from a duo to a four-piece band and intensively began touring the festivals. To further strengthen their identity they released a full–length debut album with the dismissive title, Leave Me Alone. Don’t be fooled by these three words alone though, because by the looks and sound of it these youthful Madrileñas seem to be very appealing.
From the first notes on its easy to imagine Hinds playing for a full festival field under a clear blue sky. Leave Me Alone is a very melodious and assertive rock album that heavily flirts with 60s surf and garage rock. When it comes to the melodies, every track on the album has traits of fleet-footed guitar play in various forms. ‘Garden’ and ‘Castigadas En El Garnero’ are energetically young in its essence whilst the more watery ‘Solar Gap’ and ‘I’m Your Man’ hitch along with the slacker hype as we know from Courtney Barnett. Carlotta Cosials, who is the band’s lead vocalist, sets the tone when it comes to the assertive smile-and-nod mentality. It’s the ramshackled singing of Cosials and her best friend Ana Perrote that gives all 12 tracks a kittenish feel. Both girls seem to kick around the mic and be doing so try to outdo the other. Things become deliciously vile when both combine their voices and go all-out. ‘San Diego’ offers a nice example of that. This contemporary translation of 60s garage rock is an irresistible display of pure fun. In fact, this goes for all of Leave Me Alone. Without exception every note is drenched in uncomplicated fun yet also is very well-balanced by means of the solid play of bassist Ade Martín and the (Dutch born) drummer Amber Grimbergen. Their backdrop efforts determine the boundaries which Cosials and Perrote clearly need to truly excel.
Naturally Hinds’ first is not earthshaking. Nevertheless there are hints of a standard to pick up here because it doesn’t matter if you play the album from the start or press at the randomize button. For that to happen all songs need to have the same sort of high level quality, which indeed Hinds delivers. There is a stable fundament, a catchy upbeatness, a strong no-nonsense sentiment and most of all an authentic love for music. Therefore Leave Me Alone is a splendid achievement of a group of young friends who now definitely leave their fairly turbulent startup years behind them. So if you ask me the first four star constellation started shining bright at this year’s horizon and that’s exactly what we need right now.
Label: Mom & Pop, 2016
- Garden (4:07)
- Fat Calmed Kiddos (3:02)
- Warts (2:35)
- Easy (2:24)
- Castigadas en el Granero (3:46)
- Solar Gap (2:25)
- Chili Town (3:17)
- Bamboo (3:49)
- San Diego (2:30)
- And I Will Send Your Flowers Back (3:34)
- I’ll Be Your Man (3:17)
- Walking Home (3:12)
Review by Wander Meulemans // 210116