ALBUM REVIEW: Hinds – The Prettiest Curse (Lucky Number)
Hinds are an indie-rock band from Madrid, and this is their third album. Originally due out in April, its release was put back until June due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Formed as Deers by Carlotta Cosials (vocals, guitar) and Ana Perrote (vocals, guitar) in 2011, they were joined by Ade Martin (bass, backing vocals) and Amber Grimbergen (drums), and had to change their name after a legal wrangle with Canadian band The Dears.
Their debut album, 2015’s Leave Me Alone, won over critics and music lovers with its lo-fi charm, getting rave reviews and making No 47 in the UK charts.
The follow-up, 2018’s I Don’t Run, was more of the same, but didn’t fare as well, which probably explains the band’s change of management between that album and this one.
With that change has come a change of approach. Gone is the scuzzy, slightly shambolic garage rock sound which many fans fell for in the first place.
It has been supplanted by a much cleaner, more produced sound, and there’s no denying that the pop sheen on songs like classy 80s-influenced opener Good Bad Times makes them much more radio-friendly.
But wasn’t the scuzziness, lack of polish and slightly off-kilter harmonies the thing that made people love Hinds in the first place?
Like The Slits and The Raincoats, there was a girl gang mentality about them that you wouldn’t mess with, but also an air of vulnerability and some pleasingly unfinished rough edges.
Ana and Carlotta still trade their vocals, there’s more diverse instrumentation, and they sing in Spanish for the first time
The jangly guitars are still present too on tracks like the excellent Take Me Back, but lead single Riding Solo, Just Like Kids (Miau) and Waiting For You are poppier than anything they’ve done before.
Despite lacking the lo-fi appeal of the first two albums this is not a bad record, and while it’ll probably disappoint a few old fans, it should gain them lots of new ones. 7/10.