Hinds: The Prettiest Curse (Mom + Pop) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020  

Hinds

The Prettiest Curse

Mom + Pop

Jun 08, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Madrid’s Hinds has been one of Spain’s biggest exports to the indie circuit. The band’s first two albums were addictive sets of swaggering, lo-fi guitar anthems. The band’s music mixes ’60s girl-group harmonies with the garage rock of the early Strokes records and the laid back style of Mac DeMarco. It’s a killer combo that is elevated by the interplay of vocalists Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote. The Prettiest Curse uses that sound as a base on which the band builds its most polished and emotionally potent work yet. 

Opener, “Good Bad Times” quickly changes up the Hinds formula with the addition of airy synths and piano, conjuring a dreamy pop tone. At moments these synth textures sound similar to a Hatchie project. Yet the band also maintains its signature garage rock growl on “Just Like Kids (Miau)” and “Riding Solo” with fuzzy and distorted bass and attitude-filled vocals. These tracks are reminiscent of the earworm choruses and bright guitar lines of the band’s first two records but with expanded sonic depth and higher recording fidelity. Some fans might miss the scrappy lo-fi style of Hinds’ first two records but it gives the band more room to incorporate some greater stylistic diversity. That middle ground between new sounds and the bite of the band’s previous work is where the album thrives.

It is also a pleasure to see Hinds embracing some explicitly Spanish influences on this album, such as on the track “Come Back and Love Me <3.” The track makes use of lovesick girl-group harmonies and Spanish guitar in equal measure for an achingly romantic highlight. Throughout the album, Hinds moves between Spanish and English as the band dances effortlessly from love songs with a classic flair (“Boy”), to heartbroken anger (“Burn”), and existential angst (“The Play”). The result is an album that is more natural and unfiltered than ever.

The band frames many of these songs as reflections on all the trials of the members’ unconventional lifestyles as touring musicians. Sexist comments, loneliness, and struggles with personal identity all make an appearance. The band both revels in the glamor of “juggling tequila shots, sadness and reggaeton nights” and call out men who tell them, “You’re too pink to be admired/And too punk to be desired.” Hinds turns these challenges into a celebration of the bond its members share, showing the joy the band finds in the titular “prettiest curse.”

While this album is certainly a step forward for the band’s sound, it does suffer somewhat from some rather stock standard song structures. Most songs play out in a typical verse, chorus, bridge fashion and the second half of the album lacks some of the variations that “Come Back and Love Me <3” and “Good Bad Times” bring to the band’s sound. While no track actively misses the mark, some—such as “Waiting For You”—don’t really stand out within the tracklist. The closer, “This Moment Forever,” with its lilting tempo, also makes for a rather limp end for the album. Fortunately, most of these tracks are delivered with such catchy melodies, impassioned performances, and boisterous energy that it is difficult not to enjoy the overall result.

With The Prettiest Curse Hinds once again do what it does best—making punchy indie rock with a garage rock edge to it. Even better, the more polished sound and the fresh instrumental touches take a step forward for the band. Hinds’ latest work is another raucous good time that shows off the band’s uncompromising attitude and catchy melodies at their best. (www.hindsband.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10



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