Album review: Hinds – The Prettiest Curse
PUBLISHED: 14:03 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:03 27 May 2020
The all-girl outfit make their best record yet, striding into new sonic territory with their bright melodies and peppy lyrics.
A young band can do a lot of growing up in two years, particularly when they’ve got to deal with life on the road at the same time.
It’s interesting to ponder the extent that those experiences have shaped Spanish upstart quartet Hinds, who had already carved a comfortable spot of their own at the poppier end of lo-fi, garage rock with their first two records.
Good Bad Times, recently released as a single, sweeps that all away with a polished, louche disco-pop arrangement that could have fallen off the back of Goldfrapp’s truck – a refocus rammed home via the album cover’s garish colour clashes and kitsch costumes, a world away from the gritty, Polaroid-style snap they slapped on 2018’s I Don’t Run.
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It’s highly listenable chart fodder, the lyrics centring on highly dysfunctional kidult relationships, and opens a record which explores the fertile crossovers between garage rock, disco, sampling, synth-pop and more.
That means bright melodies and girl-gang camaraderie in bolshy recent single Just Like Kids (which includes the stark industry judgement “You’re too pink to be admired and too punk to be desired”), soaring, earworm guitar solos (holding up Take Me Back) and woozy, ‘60s girl group vocals drawn out over New Wave guitar and drums (curtain-closing ballad This Moment Forever).
There’s plenty of fun in Riding Solo, which comes across like a pillow fight between The Go! Team and Glass Animals, and for the first time they’re comfortable enough to drop Spanish lyrics into the mix too.
The Play perhaps best reveals the girls’ experiences and mindset, with the eye-rolling assertion “I don’t want your compassion / I was built for action”, while strummed guitar and glockenspiel wonderfully conjure an airless Mediterranean dusk in Come Back And Love Me.
The Prettiest Curse undoubtedly signals an evolution, rather than a revolution, in the band’s sound and outlook – guitars, splashy drums and sassy couplets still play a central role in many tracks – but there is a sense that this will lead to even more exciting music in the years to come.
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