Hinds deal with high expectations on Leave Me Alone

Leave ME AloneAs with every artist quickly lauded by some of the internet’s most relevant music publications, it wasn’t long before Hinds were labelled as a buzz band. Without even releasing an album, the Madrid four-piece garnered attention from fans and sceptics alike. Just check out any comments section surrounding their work; the chances are it has resulted in polarised, fierce debate. However unfair it might be, the truth is they’ve been closely monitored and under pressure since their early days. With their first album, Hinds look to live up to a standard that wasn’t even set out by them in the first place. Funnily enough, their debut album is titled Leave Me Alone, as if directly addressing their dissenters - particularly those in their home country, where the band’s disconcerting gender politics have recently become a controversial issue in social media.

Even now that their first album is being released, it’s still tough to make something of Hinds.  Their off-kilter hooks do play to their advantage - “Garden” is a lovely example of what this band is capable of when lead singers Ana García and Carlotta Cosials harmonise together,  yet they move away from this tactic as Leave Me Alone progresses. The straightforward guitar licks end up being replaced by mild chord strumming, as on "I'll Be Your Man", "Walking Home" or vanilla instrumental “Solar Gap”.

The album works best when Hinds keep it simple and actually embrace carelessness, as when their voices poignantly break in “And I Will Send Your Flowers Back”. After all, garage rock has always been about that endearing sloppiness in technical ability, and the roughness around the edges of the recordings. It is when Hinds try to develop their songs outside archetypical poppy structures that the band’s lo-fi approach becomes just frustrating, the barely in-tune vocals rather unpleasant. Their briefest songs work well and they surely know how to make the most of their hooks, but they struggle in keeping things interesting whenever the three-minute mark is surpassed.

Leave Me Alone isn’t offensive by any means, just too placid and tepid for a garage band’s debut album. Its first songs are actually gratifying and pleasant, and you’d just wish that they had kept it that way for the whole record. However derivative and by the numbers their music might appear to be - every band they recognise as an influence virtually belongs to the same lineage of contemporary garage rock-, there are a few glimpses of uniqueness in “Castigadas En El Granero” or “Fat Calmed Kiddos” that they might want to revisit in the near future. Now that they’ve found a place in an already congested garage scene, they should go on making it their own.

Release: 8th January 2016, Lucky Number

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