Leave Me Alone
8 January 2016; Lucky Number
The fact of the matter is that women are grossly under-represented in the ‘indie’ rock/pop scene. Hinds, previously Deers, fiercely stand out in this veritable cock-fest. Their debut Leave Me Alone was a riotously fun cry that insists on being heard in its very resistance to being overtly political. Leave Me Alone stakes its claim in being adamantly rather fun. It presents an album full of themes as similarly insular and anecdotal as their ‘male’ counterparts and remains joyful in its rendering. It indulges and recounts the antics of the Spanish quartet, so it is simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar to your average indie-enthusiast (is this the beginning of a gender revelation/ution?).
The album artwork attests to this. It’s like the better looking, trendier cousin of us peasants’ drunk ‘squad’ photos. It feels candid not coquettish, lending themselves perhaps as a kind of more productive Girls (HBO) quartet. This rough-around-the-edges genuineness is endearing in its familiarity, a familiarity that could be the answer to the much needed presence of contemporary music role-models for young women to connect with. The weight of their potential significance doesn’t weigh Hinds down however; the project seems foregrounded by their experiences as a young group of goofy BFFLs (adept PR orchestration or not). So maybe, as we see ourselves in Shosh, Jessa, Hannah and Marnie, we might see ourselves in Ana, Carlotta, Amber or Ade; in other words we can all be fantastically shambolic together, in a teen-ish vision of well-meaning hedonism/egotism.
it has the makings of a sloppy cult-classic
At times the barely sung vocals smack of Soko or Girlpool. There is a charming easiness to the lo-fi, at times tuneless, vocals. Crushy drums and twangy guitars proffer honest garage-style production. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before with the likes of Mac DeMarco, even Wild Nothing, but there remains an appeal, something that can be enjoyed by young teens and still hold weight with those of us ‘officially’ in the throes of adulthood (yuk). It’s not complicated, and nor is it trying to be. ‘Garden’ is a strong opener in introducing their drawling, slacker whirlwind feel. ‘Warts’ pulls on surfer-rock vibes, as do ’Solar Gap’ and ‘Easy’. ‘Fat Calmed Kiddos’ is an ode to drunk texting with a wonderfully simple bass resolute through the perfectly clunky tempo changes. However, at moments it risks amateurish repetition in its basslines and guitar chords that mean the songs kind of bleed into each other. ‘Castigadas En El Granero’ is particularly guilty of this.
Yet, overwhelmingly, Leave Me Alone is enjoyable to listen to, it has the makings of a sloppy cult-classic. Like the Mac DeMarco that Hinds herald, they posses a slurring charm that relies on the romantic idiom “salad days”, being in the throes of sunny youth and a certain reliance on infectiously off-kilter guitar riffs. It will be a great day when the gender make-up of a band holds no sway on their reception, but in the meantime Hinds remedy a big problem in music, have fun doing it and show exuberant (in an avowedly problematic turn of phrase) girl power.