It’s hard not to like Hinds. The Madrid-based ascendants from Spain’s robust DIY rock scene don’t even bother with pleasantries before offering to take you dancing over the first rambling notes of their debut LP, Leave Me Alone. They’re just like us, fangirling over personalized autographs from the Strokes; and it’s so easy to get swept up in the foursome’s live performances that fans often ask to be part of the band. Even the simple pleasure of listening to the band’s singers (and founding members) Carlotta Cosials and Ana García Perrote tackle the Spanish-to-English pronunciation barrier — rolling their R’s and squishing their A’s — is enough to make you understand their charm.
This enthusiastic, Iggy Pop-appropriate lust for life permeates the foursome’s (rounded out by bassist Ade Martin and drummer Amber Grimbergen) effective-yet-unassuming introduction to the wider world via a Major Indie Label. Hinds don’t roll out the red carpet for themselves, nor do they exactly rip it up and start again, but that’s okay — at least, it’s okay for the brisk, breezy LP’s half hour and change. Even then, it’s a little hard to avoid feeling like you’ve heard this one before, especially one you cross the gently weeping instrumental “Solar Gap” into Leave Me Alone’s largely repetitive second half. But no matter: The band’s motto is “our s**t, our rules,” as evidenced by the record’s title. If you don’t like murmured, semi-sensible incantations of boardwalk loves and losses over mashed-potato tempos, then you can GTFO.
But Hinds aren’t really the types to box anyone out. Leave Me Alone is a friendly, enthusiastic album of coppery six-strings glinting in the sunlight with the more-than-occasional flat note, scuffing up the album’s already sand-blasted texture with an endearing scrappy quality. The band members often tumble over each other vocally (“Castigadas en El Granero”) or suddenly speed up tempos (“Easy”), as though they got carried away with the sheer good fortune of discovering their musical talent — and how much fun it is playing each other. It’s great to ride Hinds’ surf-rock wave along with them, even if by the end you’re somewhat left wondering how they’ll wash up among far-flung tonal peers, like Los Angeles’ Allah-Las and any number of scrappy, Infinity Cat-approved Nashvillians. But we still get tans even though they fade away; and similarly, Leave Me Alone makes an impression — until it doesn’t anymore.