Hinds ‘Leave Me Alone’ – ALBUM REVIEW

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This Hinds article is by Ian Bourne, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Lorna Gray.

Hinds debut album ‘Leave Me Alone’ follows just over a year of single and EP releases that were impossible to find except as downloads, until they put them together as a 10-inch mini-LP cheekily called ‘The Very Best Of Hinds So Far’. The album takes Hinds to another level, but still rooted in garage. On ‘Garden’, lo-fi guitars churn and chime, then become sparse and piercing as singer and guitarist Carlotta Cosials unleashes her sugar-sweet voice. Drummer Amber Grimbergen kicks on and joint lead singer/guitarist Ana Perrote adds her mellower vocals to the mix. “I can take you dancing,” they sing, and the track ends with a syrupy dose of solo bass from Ade Martin.

Her bassline sets up ‘Fat Calmed Kiddos’, which snakes along until the catchy chorus bursts out. The vocals are much clearer than on previous versions as Ana and Carlotta trade lines of “texting me while you were drunk”, topped off with sparkling guitars. Hinds live are a riot, charming and funny, but ‘Leave Me Alone’ has passionate moments and a raw emotional honesty that betrays their happy-go-lucky image.

‘Warts’, a song about a girl that “acts crazy”, is sweet and gentle. If it weren’t for the buzzy raw guitar, it could be a pop tune. Ana and Carlotta risk singing far higher notes than they’ve attempted before and end with an incredibly Spanish version of a surf-rock “la la la” that goes “bara bara bara ba pa”. A tension between jokiness and poignancy defines this album.

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Songs like ‘Easy’ are more complex than they sound at Hinds’ raucous gigs. Guitars shine and grind and the track’s final churning phase ends with Amber’s clashing cymbals. Old favourite ‘Castigadas En El Granero’ bounces along, with Ana and Carlotta singing alternate lyrics over a punky garage backing of reverberating guitars. Hinds close the first half of the album with a gentle waltzing instrumental, ‘Solar Gap’, which has a charming naïvety.

All I’m asking is for you to make a move,” they sing on ‘Chili Town’, “I am flirting with this guy just to pretend I’m fine”. Their tunes adopt American bubble-gum rock traits, but with a hint of deviance: “I am swimming in the dark, because all your friends are sharks.” ‘Bamboo’ winds up slowly, with a big bass, and features their hallmark buzzing reverb guitars and bitter-sweet lyrics: “I want you to call me by my name when I am lying on your bed.” This rolling mini-classic signs off with another of Hinds’ strange made-up chants: “Wababibabiraba”.

Over Ana and Carlotta’s splintering guitars, their overlayered singing on ‘San Diego’ is belted out in desperation – “We didn’t even say goodbye” – hinting at a dark side to partying. “Stay close to me or know I die,” it ends, with the word “die” loud and telling. ‘And I Will Send Your Flowers Back’ is slow doo-wop on underplayed guitars, with the voices interplaying like a dialogue, as they sing about a “fucked-up mess”. On ‘I’ll Be Your Man’, soaring guitar notes sound like a music box fed through a buzzbox. It’s either a subconscious or deliberate nod in the direction of Velvet Underground – mashing up the classic titles ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ and ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’.

Hinds take a jauntier tack in final track ‘Walking Home’. It has an off-kilter middle section, sandwiched between melodic proto-punk guitar in the style of Jonathan Richman. The song fades-out with the candid lyric, “You’re the love of my life, you’re the one that I want.” This is an album that a lot of people will want.

‘Leave Me Alone’ is out on 8th January 2016 via Lucky Number.