Hinds ‘Leave Me Alone’ – Review

31 Jan

San Diego has long been the dream destination for generations of idealistic, sun seeking hippies raised on Californian pop. The Thrills sang ‘let’s go to San Diego, hey that’s where all the kids go’ and so when I was a teenager that’s the placed I wanted to head to. I finally did last summer, on two occasions during my travels across the country. Initially it more than lived up to the image in my head; it was warm, and I spent the weekend hanging out in Balboa park, in the friendly cafés and walking the beautifully chilled out streets lined with book stores and vintage shops. The second time I visited the city was on a flight stopover. It was much colder and I somehow ended up on the wrong side of town where I’ve honestly never seen so many homeless and sad looking people in my life. The point being, appearances can be deceiving – especially in California.

On their song ‘San Diego’, Hinds exploit this contrast perfectly. It exudes a Californian warmth and optimism with its twanging guitars, delirious vocals and optimistic melody. There is sheer, unadulterated joy captured in the refrains of ‘take me to the beach alright’ and especially ‘I’m staying, I’m staying du-duh-du-duh-du-duhhh’. But there is an equal sense of things not being perfect. There is expressed anxiety about drugs, the half buried question of ‘why won’t you take my hand?’ and the rejection contained in the lyric ‘we didn’t even say goodbye’. Since the Beach Boys, bands have realised that pop music, as much as California, is equal parts sweet and sour. Throughout their debut album Hinds will fill you with happiness, while throwing in just enough hints of darkness to keep things interesting. There is something very real, honest and human in that.

Their yearning melodies, romantic lyrics and sun kissed guitar tones are particularly potent in the January chill. There is something inherently Mediterranean sounding in their music, and I don’t think it’s just their gorgeous Spanish vocals. It just sounds somehow more exotic than the indie rock we’re used to. Lead singers Perotte and Cosials sing to each other, over each other, in perfect tandem but not without a hint of competition. Only occasionally harmonious, there is something extremely alluring in their sultry singing, particularly on the potent lead singles ‘Garden’ and ‘Bamboo.’ When they slow down they certainly lose some of this charm; the quiet ‘And I will send your flowers back’ has a sweet melody and typically seductive vocal, but the sleepy ‘I’ll be your man’ and ‘Solar Gap’ are forgettable.

In an era when pop music lures potential rockers and antagonises the ones that stick around, modern guitar groups have surely become too defiantly enamoured with Rock (and all its bitter, heavy, cynical weight) and not anywhere near concerned enough with the Roll. Hinds enthusiasm, scrappy playing and self assured swagger goes someway to readdressing that balance. A denial of Hinds is surely a denial of the enthusiasm that lies at the very heart of rock n roll and that bubbles through ‘Leave Me Alone.’ They sound like they’re having a ball or throwing a party to which your invited. Once they have you’re attention they use it to tease and taunt you. Even as the title playfully denies you, their magnetic stares on that cover photo seem to draw you in. You never know where you stand with them, which puts you exactly where they want you, In the palm of their hands.




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