Between Lifestyle and Art: Hinds Hit a Sold-Out Bowery Ballroom
The best band currently exported from Spain, Hinds is four garage rockers who’ve found a new way of singing the same thing.
Midway through their sold-out show at the Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night, Hinds introduced their next cut as a love song and then wished the audience would end their night by making love.
The currently unreleased tune that followed had co-singer Ana García Perrote crooning as minor chords strummed by her side. During this moment, as I was jotting down notes, the person to my left sparked a conversation with me and said she was a friend of the band. We briefly discussed their hometown -- I recently visited Madrid -- when I commented on the city’s apparent art community. “It’s not an art community,” she responded, wholeheartedly, “But a lifestyle.”
Hinds embody that lifestyle. The laid-back atmosphere courtesy of their three-chord rock makes for an effortlessly enjoyable listen. In Spain, you finish your work so that you may dine and wine with friends -- sometimes called a “botellón.” Hinds, on the other hand, made their work their picnics. It’s evident in their simple-yet-endearing lyrics as well as in their music that sometimes dips to a calmer, chilled downbeat. But their penchant for Animal House basement rock often prevails, fixing them to be some of 2016’s more fashionable dance music. From the minute they hit the stage -- entering via soul train with Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing” in tow – Hinds were as transfixing and exciting as their thriving social media profiles suggests. They’re a cool hand jukebox.
Hinds opened with a droning, non-album track that allowed them to ease into their settings. Teetering on a sound similar to shoegaze, this notion was immediately smashed when Perrote presented the Bowery the greatest kazoo solo possibly ever performed on its stage. By the time they reached the chorus to their following track “Warts,” it became audibly evident how tame Hinds choose to keep their volume when performing. And it was a choice that worked swimmingly.
Compared to the opening band -- Toronto’s young bucks Goodbye Honolulu – who upped their amplifiers to blaring levels during certain moments of their set, Hinds’ decision to keep the volume loud but more so distinct was a welcoming touch and a sign of self realization. The lack of deafening guitars allowed for Hind’s strongest instrument to prevail: the dual vocals of Perrote and Carlotta Cosials.
They’re aren’t necessarily reinventing the lo-fi garage rock wheel with their excellent debut LP Leave Me Alone (released in January via Mom + Pop), though what separates Hinds from contemporaries such as Ty Segall and Mac Demarco is how these Spanish-born singers exercise and inflect their accents into their vocals. Perrote and Cosials are Spanish speakers singing in English and that’s a method that increases their American appeal while sacrificing a home bass. (A source that attended their Madrid show last month informed me of its half-capacity audience while the Bowery Ballroom sold out weeks in advance.) When Cosials coos, “You’re out of time, man” during “Chili Town”, it’s a subtle and joyous moment where cadence reigns supreme.
Sparingly throughout the night Cosials would address the audience between songs with stories or appreciations. She told how they spun records the night before at Elvis Guesthouse (they were proud of their reggaeton selection) and then mentioned how happy they were to finally play a show with NYC’s The Britanys after meeting them during their first performance in New York. Though the best commentary came when she introduced their next song, which would prove to be an evening highlight.
“Easy” offers a wordless chorus in exchange for a guitar line worthy of praise and head sways. Cosials mentioned how Hinds wanted this tune to be their next single but their record company resisted for they wanted more voices and faces in the music video. Hinds fought back and won, and as they played that righteous riff the first of two crowd surfers climbed aboard the audience.
Before ending their main set with “Castigadas En El Granero”, Cosials, Perrote and bassist Ade Martín assembled in a row à la Judas Priest and brought the show to a climatic finish. Returning for an encore, they dusted off the languid instrumental “Solar Gap” before topping the evening with their standard closer: a cover of Thee Headcoatees’ garage hit “Davey Crockett.” Mid track when the infamous and uproarious “gabba gabba hey” section ruptures, a gaggle of girls (and one dude) hopped up on stage and joined Hinds as they danced to the last note, giving this rousing performance an appropriate close.