“‘Can I tell you something about you and your band’,” Hinds begin on fiery tune ‘Just Like Kids (Miau)’, mocking the unsolicited comments they get about their music. “”Cause I’m sure you’d love to listen to my advice / You’re always out of tune / And there’s no place there for you,” they add over jangling piano licks and a strutting bassline, finishing with an eye-roll quip: “Dude, do I know you?”.
Fizzing with energy, this album takes a sledgehammer to the uninvited comments that the Spanish band have received throughout their careers. This empowered, no-fucks attitude permeates ‘The Prettiest Curse’.
The follow-up to Hinds’ 2016’s garage-rock debut ‘Leave Me Alone’ and 2018 ‘I Don’t Run’, this third record sees the quartet shake things up. On past releases they relied on a lo-fi sonic pallet of growling rock created by their core instruments (guitars, bass, vocals and drums) and they’ve admitted that they were “afraid of pop music” for many years. Here, though, they’ve embraced pop melodies and new instrumentation with keyboards and synths, and their raucous sound has been enhanced by slick production (courtesy of Grammy-nominated producer Jenn Decilveo).
Stomping opener ‘Good Bad Times’ blends a strutting Strokes-flecked bass line with soaring riffs and earworm vocal melodies; ‘Riding Solo’, a grungy shoe-gaze smash that explores feeling of home-sickness, marches to a finale of chaotic, over-driven guitars; and slow-burner ‘This Moment Forever’ sees Hinds’ take a trip to Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’.
As well as new sounds, the band embrace their Spanish culture here – both musically and lyrically. Take ‘Come Back and Love Me <3’, a reflective acoustic number with lyrics that flit between their native language and English. Having spent most of their career writing in English, for ‘The Prettiest Curse’ the band began to create tunes in their mother tongue, a move that has only served to strengthen their songwriting. Indeed the aforementioned ‘Come Back and Love Me <3’ and dreamy ‘Boy’, which meshes the band’s trademark garage rock with euphoric dream-pop, are album highlights.
Since they formed in 2011, Hinds have built up a fanbase who love their boisterous songs, and they could have comfortably stuck out another album in this vein. However on ‘The Prettiest Curse’, they’ve taken their sound and unashamedly experimented with it. They’re all the better for it – not that they need our advice.
Release date: June 5
Record label: Lucky Number