What better way to start off the New Year than with some sunshine? That’s probably one of the main components of the all-female band Hinds’ debut Leave Me Alone. Despite the rather aggressive title, the four Madrilenians pack their album full of playful, lilting melodies, which add a sprinkling of Mediterranean warmth to the glut of indie albums recently released. Hinds have already supported some British indie behemoths, including The Libertines, The Vaccines and Palma Violets, giving them a head start into the esteemed circles of indie pop. Leave Me Alone is likely to sustain their rapidly increasing fame.
From the very first track, Garden, we are inundated with blasts of lo-fi guitars that fluctuate in tempo, swinging from one extreme to the other in line with the mood of the song. The vocals are raw and unpolished, which is likely to be a turn off for those who expect something a bit more produced. Although, from personal experience, these kinds of vocals are underwhelming on record compared to when they are sung live, they do fit in well with the low-maintenance feel of the record. It’s almost as if Carlotta and Ana, the vocalists, are singing their thoughts as they come to their head. In Garden, and the following track Fat Calmed Kiddos (an ode to the often-present problems of texting your ex), Carlotta and Ana’s distinct vocals balance each other out well, almost like a tuneful slanging match.
The casual and haphazard nature of Leave Me Alone is completely epitomised in the song Castigadas En El Granero (the title translates into something like “punished in the barn”. It contains bonkers lyrics: “All I see is a big cow / I know you heard that and now I’m eating all your corn”), and is delightfully nonsensical in a Ça Plane Pour Moi sort of way. It captures perfectly the lackadaisical nature of the album, and despite not making much sense, is pleasing enough to listen to. Another appealing song is Solar Gap, a sunshiny and celestial-sounding interlude. However, it becomes slightly repetitive after a while; it doesn’t fit in the album as well as the more upbeat melodies of Castigadas, Chili Town, and Bamboo.
The aforementioned two songs again touch on the same theme of exasperated feelings about partners, added with a dash of teenage angst and the sunniness that pervades the album. In Bamboo, the singers berate their significant others for ignoring them, but still with a playful tone: “I want you to call me by my name when I’m lying on your bed / I know you’re not hungover today / You’re classifying your cassettes”. The sound and lyrical content is reminiscent of the French all-female band Plastiscines, as well as riot grrl bands like Le Tigre. The tempo of the album slows down with And I Will Send Your Flowers Back and Walking Home, but the bright, lucid sound is retained.
The album sounds delightful, and Hinds are clearly talented. However, aside from a choice few tracks, it feels like Hinds could have been a bit braver with their melodies and tempos. There’s a tiny bit of punchiness lacking from a lot of the album, and a lot of the introductions and melodies are fairly formulaic. Nevertheless, Hinds have at least managed to create a recognisable sound, setting them apart from your average indie four-piece, and set a firm foundation for future albums. Furthermore, bands like Hinds help raise exposure for all-female rock bands, which sometimes still don’t seem to get as much recognition as they deserve. If you’re looking for a light-hearted album that doesn’t take itself too seriously, or want something to brighten up your January, Leave Me Alone is a great choice.
Picks:Castigadas En El Granero, Chili Town, Fat Calmed Kiddos