“Nuestras mierdas, nuestras reglas” is Spanish quartet Hinds’ motto. It means “Our shit, our rules”. Hinds’ way or the highway honey. It suits them. Their debut Leave Me Alone is rowdy, rambunctious, ragged and rough around the edges but it’s also whipsmart, straight-talking and utterly sincere. “We’re young, and we’ll listen to you,” guitarist Carlotta Cosials has warned, “but we’re probably not going to heed to your instructions.” That’s the spirit! Bombs away and Viva la revolución!
Having spent the past year or two on a seemingly permanent rollercoaster of riotous gigs to the Moon and back, Hinds know how to throw a party. Leave Me Alone was all but recorded live with the band tearin’ it up together in the studio all melting faces at the same time. No endless vanity takes, fancy overdubs or glossy airbrush sheen. It’s a record cut for sweaty nights, chaotic moshpits, cigarettes, booze and wakin’ up in a dumpster with a missing tooth. Good times. Last year’s single “Garden” kicks off proceedings in fine style and like much of the album seems to have inherited some of its genes from the Kingsmen’s version of the Toga-time romper “Louie Louie”. A dusty tornado of rockabilly motorcycle guitars swiftly scatter to reveal Hinds’ signature jangly stoner swagger and delicate, spidery melodies. One swift kick to the knackers of “Failed bad boys” later and it takes its bored heart out dancing, “Give me the keys and I’ll show you how to fight”. Get in!
Hinds’ direct, “No B.S.” attitude gives the record a vibrant, electric edge. Last summer’s “Chili Town” still feels like daytime drinking in mid-July. A frisky, headbobbin’ hipshaker on the prowl. “I am stealing your cigars just ’cause they’re closer than mine,” it dares with a piercing stare. Its hungry heart growing more impatient, “I am flirting with this guy so you can watch my crime,” before a bluntly delivered blast, “ALL I’M ASKING FOR IS YOU TO MAKE A MOVE”. “Bamboo”, a lusty survivor rescued from Hinds’ days as the Deers, dishes up another sultry sizzler. “I need you to be around my legs,” it pleads but alas their dopey Romeo is too busy “complaining about the rain” and, hilariously, “classifying your cassettes”. Just like poor old Mick Jagger, Hinds can’t get no satisfaction. This carnal conundrum is likely the cause for the (alleged) 10,000 wails of “Waba-biba-biraba” in the outro then.
No Joe, Hinds aren’t afraid to speak their minds even if sometimes things get a little lost in translation. The surf rockin’, Salvador-surreal “Castigadas En El Granero” (Punished at the Barn) is deliciously delirious. A triumphant “HA!” brings in the boogie and promptly serves up the Tequila shots. What follows is a shimmy shakin’ yarn of big cows, smoking rolls, killing dogs, being trapped in the aforementioned outbuilding and desperately wanting Daddy to “Let me goooooo“. You won’t get that on an Adele record. Well, that or a cheery, sunny day ditty called “Warts” about a woman with warts that bursts with “Bada ba ba” harmonies. There’s also the go-go dancers on the beach twisterella “Fat Calmed Kiddos” where Ade Martin’s groovy mindbender bass valiantly duels against Cosials’ and Ana Perrote’s Pixies-esque axe chops. Stay away from the brown acid kids but hey, whatever, it’s your trip.
As wild as Leave Me Alone‘s party rockers are, it’s when Hinds slip some mickeys into the brew that really sets the mojo rising. Instrumental interval “Solar Gap” transports us to the 1955 Enchantment Under the Sea prom where a circling carousel of dreamboats and petticoats swoon, sigh and ‘pitch woo’. It’s somewhat unexpected. “And I Will Send Your Flowers Back” might surprise too. As exhausted and forlorn as Buddy Holly’s “Raining in my Heart”. “What a fucked up mess,” it weeps before dusting itself off with a resigned glimmer of optimism, “I finally know how I’m feeling”. Equally sweet is “I’ll Be Your Man” which finds our heroines reunited on the porch the morning after the night before. A healing hand massage of scrappy acoustics, tambourines and good ol’ fashioned, lo-fi cassette hiss. The call and response vocals echoing the album’s spirit of solidarity, “I’ll be your guide and you’ll close your eyes”. Fear not though slam dancers the good times roll again on closer “Walking Home” which effectively acts as a friends forever conga line into the sunset. As the band wave farewell with Hawaiian hula sway they cry out to their loved ones, “I’m working to make you feel proud / You’re the reason I’m coming home.” Sounds cheesy as hell but as it’s delivered with characteristically ear-splitting vocals and shaggy “The wheels are coming off” exuberance its charm remains intact.
Leave Me Alone shoots from the hip which is always the best way to shoot in rock ‘n’ roll. “I’ll make it simple / I don’t need no game,” it boasts. Their shit, their rules. Hinds’ debut isn’t perfect no, but it’s strong in the right places and its imperfections often make it more human and heartfelt. Beneath the scrappy homemade artwork, au naturel abandon and intentionally preserved bum notes there’s a genuine sense of friendship, freedom, true grit and yes, taking control of your own “shit”. Plus there’s a song about warts. You may leave Hinds’ debut with a hangover but you’ll likely be smiling. Either way, a fuzzy glow is guaranteed.