Album Review: Hinds – Leave Me Alone

Editor's Review
  • - 8/10
    8/10

Summary

Growing beyond trashy cassette music, garage-rock — the holy grail of DIY music — is finding its feet at the start of 2016. Given a new space to grow organically, the bouncy, candid and whimsical songwriting of Madrid’s Hinds is a frenzied re-do of a much loved genre. Finding room between a number of garage styles, Leave Me Alone adopts the raw nature of Brooklyn punk music, but abandons its prickly, uncompromising blemishes for something hipper, more fun, and more down to Earth. In a nutshell, Hinds have given garage-rock a much-needed makeover.

8/10
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Marked by a saturation of lo-fi, fuzzy rock bands, 2015 became a year of DIY music: the idea that the process is just as important, if not more important, than the finished product. Spawning a number of artists and records, this resurgent wave of garage-rock bands — championed mainly by the likes of Mac DeMarco, Parquet Courts, and, earlier in the revival, The Black Lips, to name a few (look no further than the growing catalogue Californian record label Burger Records) — has fuelled a tonic of fantastic releases and artists over the past couple of years.

As we begin 2016, one cannot help but wonder where this revival plans on going next without exhausting itself. One band with an answer is Madrid-based daze-rock quartet Hinds. Formerly known as Deers, Hinds’ debut LP, Leave Me Alone, has been described as the incarnation of the “many faces of love”. Upon drinking in the record’s luscious harmonies and rackety guitar lines, Leave Me Alone translates as a fresh take on garage-rock with a balance of love-drunk pop melodies and punk dynamic. Leave Me Alone is a far cry from reinventing a genre; it is instead a re-negotiation of making the convergence of punk and pop fresh again.

“Finding room between a number of garage styles, Leave Me Alone adopts the raw nature of Brooklyn punk music, but abandons its prickly, uncompromising blemishes for something hipper, more fun, and more down to Earth”

Right from the off, it is not hard to find textual links between Hinds’ fuzzy rock sound with that of Best Coast, Mac DeMarco, and cult favourites Parquet Courts. Indeed, feeling much more cigarette-ash Brooklyn than sunlit Madrid, tracks like ‘Castigadas En El Granero’ and the boppy ‘And I Will Send Your Flowers Back’ blend together the folky undertones of indie music with rawness of post-punk. Much like The Ramones, the intrinsic equilibrium between bubblegum-pop and punk that Hinds manage is both nostalgic and spellbindingly fresh. While so many lo-fi bands underline the need to be edgy and coarse, Leave Me Alone favours the care free days of a hapless adolescence.

‘San Diego’, for instance, personifies the rough-and-ready production style of garage-rock, but the poppy undertones add clarity and character to the band’s sound. Accenting the blinding effects of drugs and the pain of feeling unloved, these two themes have the sting taken away by the bubbly charm of Hinds’ shared vocals. The tempo is fast, the production is minimal, and the execution is joyfully ironic, like a dirtier reincarnation of the Pixies.

Lyrically, the band do not shy away from the microphone. Songs like ‘Solar Gap’, ‘I’ll Be Your Man’, and the confrontational ‘Garden’ tether together the confessional drawings of a high school cubical wall. Caught in a relationship that has gone numb, the indie-infused ‘Chilli Town’ captures the bands sharp wit in its cheeky lyricism: “You’re out of town mind / I am flirting with this guy / ‘Cause all your friends are shy”. Stripped back but just as embittered, the acoustic ‘Bamboo’ makes the mundane — cassette clarification — gleeful and fun. Similarly, the jangly ‘Walking Home’ has a touch of WU LYF-like jungle rock about it, and filters the garage-rock genre into the realms of indie-pop. Sounding both unhinged yet throughly considered, Leave Me Alone has found a direction in the shrouded and over-crowded room that garage-rock genre has been packed in since its mid-2000s revival.

Growing beyond trashy cassette music, garage-rock — the holy grail of DIY music — is finding its feet at the start of 2016. Given a new space to grow organically, the bouncy, candid and whimsical songwriting of Madrid’s Hinds is a frenzied re-do of a much loved genre. Finding room between a number of garage styles, Leave Me Alone adopts the raw nature of Brooklyn punk music, but abandons its prickly, uncompromising blemishes for something hipper, more fun, and more down to Earth. In a nutshell, Hinds have given garage-rock a much-needed makeover.

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