My fridge contains a two-year-old can of Pabst Blue Ribbon (one I dared myself to pour over my head if Alvvays had won the 2015 Polaris Music Prize), a glass of near-finished sangria, banana bread beer opened for a month, and a new bottle of red wine from Portugal. Alas, none of these could really prepare one for the intoxicated excitement that is packed within Hinds’ Leave Me Alone. Ade Martin’s shirt on the cover phrases it best: Permanent vacation. Though said experience might be compelling, the record makes sure to touch on soundscapes that might make such a purgatory feel lacking, bringing listeners back into the world of necessary chaos.
Like Florence Welch, this Madrid-based Lo-Fi group have found the control needed to understand the exhilaration and dreariness of intoxication as a tool to influence a work. Hinds can function as an Indie band with the cheeky aesthetic of burger joints, pizza pads, and taco stands in one direction, but also deal with the human problems that make way for parties in another. Singers Carlotta Cosials and Ana Garcia Perrote have honed their skills in allowing listeners in their world–it’s intimacy without saying it’s intimate, making complaints safe to ramble, even though all might be a mellow dream afterwards. Martin and Amber Grimbergen also add well to the equation by jamming to the tune of their own drums, creating an atmosphere prevalent in a (The) Strokes release. As a record to party to, the band do a very good job, but there is a cohesion that is missing, probably out of the excuse that lo-fi might warrant a loose anything goes approach.
Sunset, the dusk, and the dawn could have been implemented as sections that unify well to encompass the transition from restless to exhausted by the scenery. “Garden,” though a perfect initialization of the garage rock sound of the album, has the strings to evoke sundown, a familiar feeling resonated within the fourth track “Easy” and its puddle-like squelching. The night-time presences in-between from “Warts” and “Fat Calmed Kiddos” offset the order of the night, especially considering the appropriately-titled and child-like “Solar Gap.” Thankfully, the dusk and dawn are consistent in sound in the second-half of Leave Me Alone.
That said, the feeling of being disoriented by vocals and disjointed song structure can ruin immersion for some. “Fat Calmed Kiddos” splits the vocal duo apart by dragging strident sounds into the foreground while positioning Perrote’s voice more to the back. Untangling these vocals can be a displeasure, even with their pleasant disregard for noise complaints. At times, the gnashing, ear-piercing quality of Cosials’ nasally pitch can be numbing (“Bamboo”). Songs like “Castigadas en El Granero” and “Walking Home” are bumpy due to their abrupt changes in tempo or texture, producing disjointed effects that bring structure into question.
Ultimately, these faults are outweighed by the band’s creation of fun along the context of emotional pain. When the band utters their collective vocables, listeners will be along to shout “Ba da ba da” (“Warts,” “San Diego,” “Bamboo”). Coordination under the intoxication of fun becomes graceful (“Chili Town”). And the slow yet encroaching sleep will bring along much-needed softness in sound and philosophizing (“And I Will Send Your Flowers Back,” “I’ll Be Your Man”). Everyone in the band does their part to create both the soft soundscape of a beach alighted by Christmas decorations at night and the loud one of an amusement park ride scream.
Find a rooftop to lay on, bring nice speakers–maybe some nice shades–and admire the night sky with friends while Hinds brings along their brand of intimacy. They bring a vacation as well as a reminder to why you love life.
Dustin Ragucos is a writer of things fictional, poetic, and musical. His main loves include Death Grips and Indie music. Dustin’s blog is host to a weekly blurb about albums old and new.