Hinds – The Prettiest Curse
The third LP from Madrid’s premier party band Hinds is the year’s sharpest, wittiest pop record
Hinds have always been a very difficult bunch to dislike. From the beginning they’ve fizzed with a chaotic energy at every turn. Putting out a debut record as deliberately messy as 2016’s Leave Me Alone after months of hype would sink a lot of bands, but it was the making of Hinds, a hectic collection that was every bit as endearing in its boisterousness as the Madrid outfit’s Cheshire-cat grins are on stage.
There was a sense, too, that a real jumble of emotions lurked beneath the surface, and that was something delicately brought to the fore two years ago on I Don’t Run, sonically more 60s girl group than garage-rock and thematically more clear-eyed than confused. The songcraft had been noticeably honed, and the push-pull dynamic between singers Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote clearly tightened. Even with that in mind, though, The Prettiest Curse still feels like a head-turning leap forward.
In decamping to New York and installing Jenn Decilveo behind the desk, Hinds have produced a pop record in glorious technicolour. There’s a tightrope to be navigated in embracing these kinds of sharp melodies and infectious hooks – they have to be able to move in that direction without things becoming clinical, without abandoning the ramshackle charm that makes their gigs such irresistibly good fun – and they toe their way across it with real, palpable confidence. There’s disco cool to the Heart of Glass-indebted opener, Good Bad Times, and freewheeling riffery on the standout Take Me Back; Boy, meanwhile, rings out with the sort of lush, multilayered mayhem that came to define The Go! Team at their peak.
The groundwork laid by the likes of Soberland and Linda last time out, meanwhile – with which they wore their gentler, more vulnerable side firmly on their sleeves – is smartly built upon here by Come Back and Love Me <3, all wist and Spanish guitar, and woozy closer This Moment Forever, as well as Riding Solo, an achingly sad treatise on the loneliness of the road. Four years ago, both the band and their audience would have baulked at the idea of a grown-up Hinds album – surely that’d suck the joy out of things. Instead, The Prettiest Curse is their finest work to date – full of assurance and poise, and still an absolute riot. [Joe Goggins]
Listen to: Good Bad Times, Boy, Take Me Back