Album Review: Hinds – I Don’t Run

I Don’t Run': the sophomore album from Hinds. Their second album finds the Spanish all-female rock band proving their worth with frenetic energy, integrity and honesty, in the face of pressure, expected failure and derision.
Posted: 20 April 2018 Words: Sam Barker

Proving their worth with frenetic energy, integrity and honesty.

Hinds arrived in Britain from Spain, a country where, to hear them tell it, they were all but ignored. For being too new, too uneducated musically, and too female. Their debut album, Leave Me Alone, dropped in 2016 and was quickly devoured by the British audience. The band has since performed with the Strokes, the Libertines, and Mac DeMarco amongst others. When their songs started receiving attention from NME and The Guardian, the band’s original co-founders Ana Perrote and Carlotta Cosials quickly had to form a full band. Recruiting a drummer, Amber Grimbergen from social media and making a bass-player out of their DJ friend and acting tour manager, Ade Martín in the process. Hinds then started setting venues ablaze with their frenetic mixture of high, piercing guitar tones, slubby bass, and off-kilter vocals. With I Don’t Run, if the Spanish music audience still doesn’t give the respect they deserve, then f**k it, it's their loss! Sung almost entirely in English, I Don’t Run is an album that relishes in chaos and haziness, with ideas, lines, and musical themes clashing openly and rarely resolving, but never in a dissatisfying way. While some may focus on the band having, as Perrote says:"never been properly taught to do anything in music," they play with such conviction and passion that no one cares. They can write and play great songs. Roaring out of the gate with 'The Club,' I Don’t Run sets the mood immediately. This is in-your-face rock that you can dance to. It’s fuzzy and dirty and only just held together, always sounding like it’s on the edge of breaking apart, and you’re probably going to dance your ass off to it. The women of Hinds are unashamed of their rock/garage label, with a guitar-led instrumental pre-chorus and a scorching fuzzy guitar sound throughout they sing about mistakes made in clubs, hook-ups that might and might not be mistakes, and the game of charades that everyone is playing in a night out on the town. While the vocals may be a little too buried, particularly for an opening track, they nevertheless come with a cool distancing – sounding glitchy and icy like an over-processed radio transmission. 'Soberland' reveals some of the band’s real strengths, such as their ability to present one sonic idea or influence in the opening two or three bars of a song, before immediately undermining it and heading in another direction with the addition of another layer. The opening guitar riff is reminiscent of Coldplay’s 'Shiver', but immediately separates itself and moves away from comparison into a much boppier direction. It also stands out as one of the tracks on the album that revels in its own chaos. Lyrics run into each other, with the starts and ends of lines intersecting and cutting off, reflecting the song protagonist’s own internal chaos as they struggle to come to terms with both loving and hating the person who is the subject of the song. The song protagonist wonders "how am I supposed to touch you and stay away" whilst also admitting, "I hate your taste, I hate your background" and imploring them to "talk normal once." 'Soberland' also showcases Hinds’s wonderful lyrical talent. Themes and images swim in and out of focus – at times the words can be loose and free-wheeling, but at other times they can be direct and brutal. 'Tester', I Don’t Run's sixth song, is a wonderful example of the band’s lyrical ability, and also perhaps the best track on the whole album. It’s a song that seems to evolve into a new creature every thirty seconds, at times dropping into the slower, murkier depths of Jack White’s solo work and Royal Blood’s low frequency explosions, at other times kicking into double-time and powering along. 'Tester' finds the band exploring the story of someone who wants a relationship without any of the commitment. It’s (probably) about a guy who desires all of the emotional commitment and perks of a relationship, but not necessarily the physical commitment, and is sung from the point of view of the woman caught inside the quasi-relationship. Multiple times throughout the song, the singer asks, "Should I’ve known before you were also banging her?" in a brutally and surprising honesty. It’s a song about relationships and Hinds feels no need to shy away from the sexual content that comes along with the territory, nor do they shy away from the small things that can break your heart. The line "Why did you have to brush my hair away again/ During our chat about your other affair/ Why did you have to lie to my face?" lays bare the manipulation at the hands of an unfaithful, unable-to-commit partner. Third track ‘Linda’ highlights the vocal stylings of the band at their best. While some songs on the album have a strained high-pitched quality to the vocals – an almost child-like singing quality as in ‘New For You’ – ‘Linda’ moves to the other end of the spectrum for throaty, husky vocals that catch in the throat of singer, wonderfully offsetting the piercing lead guitar tone. Here, as on the rest of the album, there are no "pretty" vocals here, no melodies that astound for their intricacies or showcasing of extreme talent. Instead, Hinds are raw, Hinds are vulnerable, Hinds let their words scratch at the backs of their throats and catch behind their teeth on the way into the listener’s ears. 'Linda' stands out as one of the rawest sounds, second, only to album closer 'Ma Nuit,' which sounds like it's been recorded on a laptop microphone from the 90’s, yet still contains within it the greatest empathy. It’s a one-take song with a throaty guitar and rusty audio quality, sung in a mixture of English, Spanish, and French. The song is about the road, encompassing the multi-national identity of the band (band-member Ana is Spanish and French) and the hectic international touring life they found themselves thrust into. Serving as a wonderful closer that looks back and encompasses the hectic reality in front of the band. It does so whilst simultaneously serving up an extra dose of intimacy that the band is so adept at wielding – calling back the image of a significant other who can’t be with the band on the road, the singer mentions, "Every night when I am on stage/ I picture you in my favourite lines." I Don’t Run is a rare example of not just a successful sophomore album, but a band succeeding in the face of derision and expected failure. But Hinds do much more than succeed. They prove their worth easily.

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