Hinds are not too concerned with being perfect. Seeing the foursome from Madrid’s infectious chemistry on stage as they rocket through spiky ‘60s pop riffs and laid-back sun drenched rhythms, you can see that this is a band more concerned with making sure everyone’s having a great time.
Their music has always been a reflection of this, from their bubbly two-track EP Demo right through to this, their debut album Leave Me Alone. This magical youthful energy they exude in everything they do is exactly why Hinds have gone from strength to strength over the past few years. What began as guitarists Ana Perotte and Carlotta Cosials recording covers on a webcam has grown into a four-piece, with the help of Ade Martin on bass and Amber Grimbergen on drums, that seems to be constantly on the road.
Unflappably charming, as Perotte and Cosials tumble over each other singing about bumming cigarettes and throwing up in taxis, they feel like the sort of band you want to be a part of; always in search of the source of fun. Even when they had to change their name from Deers to Hinds after threats of legal action at the end of 2014, the handwritten note explaining the situation was a refreshingly honest look at how things are never going to be perfect.
Leave Me Alone is a ramshackle celebration of the beauty in chaos and the imperfect. It’s an album loaded with jangly guitars and that infectious duel between Perotte and Cosials’ vocals; one that captures their ethos of “let’s just have the best time possible and worry about everything else later” perfectly. The same laidback, goofball appeal that you’d find in the likes of Mac DeMarco or Twin Peaks is at the heart of Hinds.
From "Garden", which opens the album with its reverb-drenched guitars before giving way to the Cosials’ wonderfully hazy voice, to "Bamboo", the sun-dappled tune that brought Hinds from a small duo messing about in their bedroom to non-stop touring buzz band, their debut is an endearingly messy little package full of infectious garage pop.
Leave Me Alone, however, is ultimately an album built to be heard live rather than on your record player at home or on the train to work. In a sense, this is what they were after; recording the songs together as a band rather than separately to capture that anarchic spirit that makes their live shows so spectacular. But, in turn, this makes it feel as though it’s more a tightening of those screws to really hit at those feel-good vibes we know and love than anything frighteningly new. After all, live is where Hinds' appeal really shines through. Seeing the foursome bounce around the stage, laugh off any mistakes and generally charm the audience as they do what they love the most is a joy to behold.
When Leave Me Alone tries something different to the slouchy rhythms of "Castigadas En El Granero" or the smoky Spanish drawl of "Chili Town", as great as those tunes are, is when it truly excels. The album’s highlight lies with "And I Will Send Your Flowers Back", a downtempo ode to staying good riddance to bad rubbish that feels like a slow dance under the stars. "Solar Gap", too, stands out as a beautiful little instrumental interlude which sounds like it could easily fit into Alex Turner’s soundtrack for Submarine; a wistful lullaby tinged with unspoken sadness.
Leave Me Alone is flawed, but its flaws are what makes it so beguiling. Trying something new isn’t their focus right now, and that’s fair enough when they're intent on making sure everyone is having this much fun. But through the likes of "Solar Gap", we can see a new side of Hinds that's well worth exploring on their next record. For now Leave Me Alone feels more like something to base their riotous, convention-smashing live shows around rather than its own beast.