hinds-new

For a country that hosts some of the most popular and respected festivals in the world, Spain’s own music scene has remained surprisingly under the radar. Compared with other parts of the continent, most Spanish music doesn’t seem to have entered the public consciousness far beyond the occasional flamenco.

Granted, the country is home to the excellent Elefant Records, but outside of releasing early material by The School and Camera Obscura, that label is all but invisible outside of a certain audience. Hell, the only revelation I’ve ever had about modern Spanish music was via the Rough Trade Shops Indiepop 1 compilation. Coming right after Felt’s maudlin masterpiece ‘Penelope Tree’, Juniper Moon’s ‘El Resto De Mi Vida’ practically leapt out of the stereo – a restless, effervescent classic, which actually compelled the album’s compiler to take Spanish classes at night school, “just to know what I was singing.”

Enter Hinds. The rise in popularity for the Madrid quartet has been as swift as it has been unexpected, and their debut album comes barely a year since they first came to the UK to play their fourth ever gig. ‘Leave Me Alone’ peddles a distinctly DIY brand of ramshackle girl-gang garage pop, itself an unholy collision of The Raincoats, Kenickie and Mac DeMarco.

The album is way more lo-fi than most buzzbands’ debuts dare to be; songs shift tempo out of nowhere and Carlotta Cosials and Ana García Perrote trade vocals like two teenagers giddily sharing a bottle of cider in a park. And while the songs aren’t exactly fragmentary collages, their elusive hooks replace each other pretty quickly; this, by the way, is a good thing, and their enthusiasm is contagious. On opening track ‘Garden’, you can easily imagine the four Hinds members trading excited glances at each other, as if to say, “Holy shit, we’re a real band!”

Cosials and Perrote’s frank lyrics – some of which, the pair admit, were written with the assistance of Google Translate – sound like a mix between unfiltered, heartfelt confessions (“I am flirting with this guy just to pretend I’m fine…”) and instantly regretted drunken texts. And great as they are, tracks like ‘Walking Home’ and ‘Chili Town’ sound like pop music that’s held together with string and Pritt Stick.

Only a couple of songs sound like ideas drawn to their logical conclusions. With its we’ve-got-your-back chorus (“Don’t let him waste your smile!”), ‘Warts’ provides ‘Leave Me Alone’’s sweetest moment. Meanwhile, ‘Bamboo’ comes on like a clattering attempt at classic Shangri-La’s style pop, right down to its lyrics, which brutally take a boy down for being too aloof for his own good – “I know you’re not hungover today,” they yelp, “you’re classifying your cassettes!”

‘Leave Me Alone’ is an unassuming debut – the kind of record you wouldn’t think could reach the kind of following the band already has. Then again, after such a sudden surge in popularity, it’s all the more impressive that Hinds haven’t compromised a thing about their music. If you don’t want to take Hinds as they are, they won’t miss you… but it’s your loss.


 
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