Botellón is a drinking activity popular in the Spanish capital of Madrid that encourages the city’s youth to reject conventional nightclubs and embrace the nocturnal clock in exterior surroundings like parks and monuments; until participants pass out due to exhaustion in the glow of sunrise. From the spontaneous antics in their haphazard D-I-Y music videos to their booze and cigarettes-laden promotional photography (see album cover), garage rock quartet Hinds (Carlotta Cosials, Ana Garcia Perrote, Ade Martín, Amber Grimbergen) seem like they’re on a never-ending party but much like Botellón, it’s one that follows their own rules.
Admittedly, Hinds feel familiar. They bear a visual resemblance to Haim in their lack of glamour, but their music isn’t as polished or eclectic as the Californians. Despite their rough garage rock diversifying into jangly melodic acoustic beach-indie at times; they do hail from the sunniest of places. They share the transparent sense of humour and mischief – still a refreshing approach to completely female bands – of Chastity Belt without the vulgar riot-grrrl lyricism. Instead focusing on words that battle with their default submissiveness in relationships, coming out as mad warriors against their ex-boyfriends in ‘Chilli Town’ and ‘I Will Send Your Flowers Back’.
What they do incredibly well is make their lo-fi music look effortless and hedonistically fun; unapologetically sticking to a consistent style that’s raw and unpretentious on their long-awaited debut album Leave Me Alone. The band have confessed in interviews that they cherish the opportunity to perform live with the utmost gratitude; this being the catalyst for their imperfect compositions.
It’s noticeable in Carlotta and Ana’s sluggish out-of-sync vocals that occasionally collide and grow frustrated like intoxicated night owls at a bus stop. It might be a vocal coach’s nightmare but in terms of fitting inside the indie scene, it’s a martyr for the conveyor belt of harmonic duets on anti-talent show contests.
Another one of Hinds’ credentials is their reversed pace-development. As heard in pre-album single ‘Davey Crockett’ – which was bizarrely omitted from the album – their new songs start off energetic and eventually the vocals and melodic guitar slow down to snail speed. This presents the two sides of the Hinds experience; the impulsive partying and the consequential hungover. The latter, the narrative in the interlude ‘Solar Gap’ and lyrically in moments reflects jetlag and sober realisation: “I’ll clean the blood of the venom/I don’t need no game,” (‘I’ll Be Your Man’.)
Having said that, Hinds’ grasp of the English language isn’t the best – “Lips still hurting and my fears doesn’t know it/You slept here for ten last night” (in the equally unfathomable-titled ‘Fat Calmed Kiddos’) – and a metaphorical song about living in a barn (‘Castigadas En El Granero’) seems to be lost in translation. Their linguistics are even less convincing when they admitted on radio that they pick phrases out of a dictionary and just repeat them three or four times to fill a track. Yet seen from their Botellón perspective, this could be another example of their easy-going approach to music and life.