Hinds, a female alt-rock group from Madrid, initiates this year’s sound of summer with their new album, I Don’t Run, released on April 6. This album is the follow-up to the hazy garage pop-rock of their 2016 debut, Leave Me Alone. With film photographs as album covers and girlish lyrics of angst, Hinds channels a time gone by and infuses it with a modern flair.
The album starts off strong with “The Club,” an upbeat song drenched in guitar chords and a collection of Hinds’ high-pitched, nasally voices singing about that all too familiar predicament of modern love: “Last night was wrong, I know / You don’t need a lover / But I don’t want / I don’t wanna go.”
The next song takes the same themes in a different direction, going into attack-mode as they sing “You’re waiting for someone…I’m not the one,” with a sharpness that parallels the repeated hits on the snare. But this rebellious spirit is softened by “Linda,” a song of rejection that pleads “I need you, please, my baby, please.” They’re words we’ve heard many times before, but they pull on the heartstrings nonetheless.
And then, perhaps as a self-medication for the rejection of “Linda,” the following track, “New For You,” opens with a coiling guitar line in a song about wanting to be free and pure and new in the name of love, even if it’s simply a love for oneself. It’s about self-improvement and renewal in a way that’s healthy and independent, washing the soul of previous insecurities and filling it with a newborn confidence.
With these first four songs from I Don’t Run, Hinds focuses on the essence of their music and message, with the occasional embellishment of a guitar solo. But it’s this simplicity that gives the album its beauty. The vocals are tinted with just enough of Hinds’ Spanish accents to give them a dreamy, far-away feeling. Sometimes the lyrics come together in a way that make it sound as if Hinds first thinks of what they want to say in Spanish, before translating and formatting their songs in English. But this makes their music succinct and direct, delivering their words without any exceptions or qualifications.
This and the crunchy guitars are what have provoked comparisons between Hinds and girl-grunge bands of 90’s like Letters to Cleo or Veruca Salt, or even with present-day groups like HAIM or Best Coast. The latter two might be a better fit, but there’s still a marked difference in the summery, lo-fi sound of songs like “Tester,” with cut-to-the-chase lyrics like “Why did you have to kiss me after sex?”
There’s an extra focus on the underlying rhythms with Hinds that isn’t always as thoroughly considered with some of those other bands. They flow through segments of slow and fast, with layers, breaks, and isolated vocals spread throughout in different arrangements. It’s this quality that makes Hinds the perfect background for a convertible ride in the sun or a barefoot evening dance in a solarium. But make no mistake, the laid-back swings like those in “Echoing My Name,” are the final result of hours of practice and attention to detail in mixing, a quality prioritized by the New York garage bands that Hinds echoes.
And if the tightly distorted rhythms in songs like “The Club” sound as if they may be the handiwork of the same mind behind songs like The Strokes’ “The Modern Age,” that’s because they are. Gordon Raphael, the famed producer behind names like The Strokes and Regina Spektor, helped to co-produce I Don’t Run. But really, Hinds is a combination of influences from a wide range of artists like these two, the aforementioned 90’s groups, and older 60’s girl-pop ones like The Shirelles and The Ronettes. It’s a sound that is rooted in multiple generations of music history, with an infusion of a uniquely modern feminine confidence. These qualities and the Spanish charm of Hinds are what make their sweet love songs, whether they be of sadness or vengeance, so alluring to the present-day femme fatale. And it’s this fresh perspective on the familiar that will have the music of Hinds playing out of speakers everywhere this summer.