Exuberant Debut Album From Spanish Garage-Rockers Hinds Proves They'll Only Get Better
For the best part of two years, Hinds have been flying the flag for a burgeoning Madrid garage-rock scene that includes friends The Parrots and Los Nastys. It was their rowdy, life-affirming shows that initially garnered the four-piece such critical acclaim and firmly established them as 2015’s buzz band. However, with the release of their debut album, ‘Leave Me Alone’, we encounter once more the notorious difficulty of translating ramshackle live excitement into a rich and complete listening experience.
‘Leave Me Alone’ is essentially a best-of compilation of Hinds’ output to date, including early singles “Bamboo” and “Castigados En El Granero”. One could be forgiven for thinking that this would result in an album that is disjointed and lacking fluency, what with the songs being written over the space of a couple of years and the various changes in direction, influences and ability that can happen over this period. The reality couldn’t be further from this assumption, as ‘Leave Me Alone’ breezes along jauntily in an almost uniform C86-inspired blur, thus serving as a solid introduction to new fans and a recorded landmark to longstanding ones.
Album-opener “Garden” clocks in at just over four minutes, incidentally the album’s longest track, and is fundamentally a snippet, an advert if you like, of everything that Hinds stand for; fast-moving, riff-laden garage rock with references to life’s tedium, youthful relationships and, most importantly, dancing. In fact, ‘Leave Me Alone’ contains several moments of such genuine brilliance, like the bustling intensity of “Fat Calmed Kiddos”, the earworm-rich “Easy” and the ever-brilliant “Bamboo”.
Interestingly for a young buzz band, the problems sometimes lie in an abundance, rather than lack, of ideas. ‘Leave Me Alone’ is propelled forwards by a series of undeniably thrilling riffs and vocal melodies, but at times, their sheer vigour is their downfall. Take “Warts”, for example, which opens with a beautifully simple and sweet riff, before arriving at a seemingly out-of-place chorus and ending with something entirely different again.
At times, the album is so swarming with ideas that we are occasionally only given 45 second morsels of half-finished ideas. And herein lies the problem of translating live excitement into a recorded effort: disjointed, galloping songs work perfectly in small, sweaty environments with audiences hanging on your every note but not so well on record. Thus, it is the gloriously simple and laidback “And I Will Send Your Flowers Back”, which plods along with a 60s girl-group aura, that is the album’s standout track. It’s hard, however, to criticise an album that closes with something as euphoric as “Walking Home”, perhaps the musical embodiment of what it means to be young.
‘Leave Me Alone’ is a snapshot of a moment of time and it should be applauded for that. There is, however, so much more to come from Hinds and this writer, for one, cannot wait for more. In the meantime, go and see them live – that’s their best medium...for now.