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Look, you can’t pretend like there isn’t a novelty factor that’s partially behind the popularity of Hinds. It’s not every day that a group of four Madrid upstarts conquer the “indie” rock world and become the first Spanish act to play the main stage at Glastonbury – all before they’ve even released a record.
But as much as you try and dismiss their sloppy musicianship, their juvenile lyrics, their obvious influences, and their European filter, what simply can’t be ignored is their pure, unadulterated joy for music.
It’s so rare these days to come across a band that has had almost no foreign bodies clog the pipe from garage practice to festival performance, and that’s where Hinds set themselves apart. All the while lead vocalists Carlotta Cosials and Ana García Perrote dance around each other, duelling with their simultaneously juxtaposed yet totally complimentary inflection and delivery, and the rhythm section of Ade Martin and Amber Grimbergen keep the tempo flowing and the feet shuffling, you can feel the energy, excitement and naiveté that Wilco sang about in their ode to youth Heavy Metal Drummer – “I miss the innocence I knew / playing kiss covers beautiful and stoned.” These girls drink, smoke, party and play rock and roll… and they want you to come play too on Leave Me Alone.
Early singles Garden, Chili Town and Bamboo remind us just how infectious those first few spins of their demos on bandcamp were – when you instantly recognised the danger of the Black Lips, the wildness of The Replacements, and that uncanny knack for melody of Times New Viking despite the calamity.
But alongside those obvious “hits” are a row of surprisingly mature compositions also waiting for their moment. Fat Calmed Kiddos pulsates with a sexy groove before devolving into a total surf rock twist off. Warts recalls the simplistic rock approach of their hero Mac DeMarco at his most charming. While closer Walking Home finds itself smack bang in the middle of The Strokes’ new and old catalogues – lo fi and edgy, but dancey and focused.
There’s even the nostalgia drenched instrumental Solar Gap that’s fuzzy, sunny notes are reminiscent of early Real Estate. And yet despite these reference points it all feels like a collective presentation of just what Hinds is – four kids playing loud and hard in their garage and beaming from ear to ear every second of it.
The cynics will knock these pins down with ease, and that’s fine. Negativity is an easy trait to wield. But if you let go of preconceptions and pretences and just let yourself remember the pleasure of music, Leave Me Alone is an album teeming with rewards and happiness.
Watch: Hinds – Chili Town