For Hinds, love is about passion, emotion, messing around, messy beds, loneliness and disappointment. For Hinds, love is everything and rock music is the way to express it. ‘I Don’t Run’ is an assured step forward that loses none of the distinctive appeal of 2016’s debut album ‘Leave Me Alone’. Hinds expand on their DIY vocabulary of buzzing, duelling guitars; nimble vocal interplay; bouncing, bopping bass and sympathetic drums.
The stunning drumming by Amber Grimbergen and brilliant bassline from Ade Martin in the opening ten seconds of first track ‘The Club’ put Joy Division through a lo-fi garage filter. Guitars played by singers Ana Perrote and Carlotta Cosials buzz , chop, wail and reverberate. The song’s fuzzed-up vocal melody recalls the dirty early sound of US punk revivalists The Strokes, whose first producer Gordon Raphael not coincidentally co-produced ‘I Don’t Run’.
Hinds and Raphael have worked hard to make the record feel raw, simple, naive, unpolished and unrefined. It’s anything but. The sophistication and cleverness is in knowing where to remove the polish, where to add the dirt, when to leave alone and when to enhance. The surf-rock simplicity of ‘Rookie’ is deceptive — a sudden quiet moment, when drums and bass drop out, highlights the yearning, before a big fuzzing finale reprises but slows down the first guitar solo. The haunting noir of ‘Ma Nuit’ is extreme lo-fi, as if inadvertently recorded in a room echoing with birdsong. Ambient sounds add to ‘I Feel Cold But I Feel More’ (an oceanic whoosh) and ‘Tester’ (bird tweets).
Guitars strum gently, jangle, emit glistening notes, rock like classic ’60s girl group hooks, thunder or chop through big chords, and spin off into kazoo-like buzzsaw solos, as on ‘Rookie’ and the power-poppy ‘New For You’. The singers cut in and out and across one another. They use different voices to match the lyrics, fuzzing or softening Cosials’ sugary natural tone on tracks like ‘Linda’ and ‘To The Morning Light’ while leaving her raw shriek to punch home the passion at moments such as the chorus of ‘Soberland’ (“but how am I supposed to touch you and stay away”) as she alternates and overlaps lines with the lower-key, vehement drawl of Perrote to slag off “Mr Soon in your bed of clichés”.
Their Madridleña outsider status gives Hinds credibility when they play with words — should the demonstrative pronoun be ‘these’ rather than ‘this’ in ‘Finally Floating’ (“I’m feeling great ’till I’m laying in bed and all this random melodies sound again”)? Phonetically, it sounds the same when they sing it. Perrote takes the lead and is joined by a seductive Cosials on ‘Linda’, a melodious, lilting 1950s soft rocker with darkening lyrics as the two combine — “when you ring my bell and I wanna be ready for your smell” turns into “when you ring my bell and I wanna be ready for your hell”. They address loneliness in ‘I Feel Cold’ and ‘Finally Floating’. When they dip into Spanish and French in ‘Ma Nuit’, the emotion and vulnerability are even more powerful: “Every night when I’m on stage, I picture you in my favourite lines”… “a veces quiero llorar” (sometimes I want to cry)… “Je me sentirais comme une conne aussi” (I’d feel like a bitch too).
Cosials is as harsh on herself when in ‘New for You’ she squeak-shouts: “Sometimes I see myself and I can’t stand my show”. The lyrics are just as brutally honest in ‘Tester’ (“and what about the necking when I came / should I’ve known before you were also banging her?”) — a smartly structured song. After the echoing acoustic intro, it comes alive with thumping bass and drums, throwing the energy of post-Ramones bubblegum pop into moshpit-friendly exuberance, big guitars, a monster bass-led bridge that cheekily deconstructs ‘Seven Nation Army’, and waves of punky verve.
There’s another mosh moment when ‘Echoing My Name’ shudders into a bold unity of voice-guitars-rhythm section (“you say what you want, I’ll keep trying to find you uptown”). But moshers may have trouble with Grimbergen’s shuffling hip-hop drum beats in ‘Finally Floating’ — strictly one for the boogie and singing along to the whacky refrain (“useless overdose of time stuck in this phase — in this phase”).
Hinds have toured relentlessly to win a fanatic following outside Spain and are now breaking through at home to a public that was brought up on bland europop and EDM. It’s odd that Spanish music should have been so conservative for so long, because the country’s ‘duende’ is closer to the independent, passionate, feisty, soulful spirit of post-punk rock that Hinds represent. Viva Hinds!
Featured photo: Alberto Van Stokkum
‘I Don’t Run’ is out now via Lucky Number. Here’s the tracklist:
01. ‘The Club’
04. ‘New For You’
05. ‘Echoing My Name’
07. ‘Finally Floating’
08. ‘I Feel Cold But I Feel More’
09. ‘To The Morning Light’
11. ‘Ma Nuit’