Tuesday, April 3, 2018

To The Morning Light: A Review Of The Second Album From Hinds

What the world doesn't need is a long, rambling review of the spry new album from Hinds, I Don't Run, out on Friday via Mom + Pop Music. I mean, the music of the band on 2016 debut Leave Me Alone was unpretentious, and full of the sort of easy indie-pop hooks that were absolutely infectious to even the most jaded of listeners. And, really, I Don't Run is more of the same, with some indications of subtle growth.

And to say that is not to suggest that this is the dreaded difficult second album, but, rather, that I Don't Run varies the Hinds formula just enough to keep things interesting for fans both old and new. It's not that things are more complicated this time out, but that it seems like there was more deliberation in the crafting of this second Hinds long-player, a fact that's apparent within seconds of the start of the record. Ade Martin's throbbing bass on thumping opener "The Club" sets things moving in the right direction, the cut a superbly-produced, richer variation on earlier, more casual numbers (and the closest Hinds have yet come to sounding a lot like Luscious Jackson). If this is maturity in the world of Hinds, I'll take it. Lead single "New For You" is a sunny singalong, the obvious hit here, while "Echoing My Name" is enough of a throwback to the first Hinds releases (when the band was called Deers) to please die-hard fans who pine for something a bit gentle. Elsewhere, "Linda" charts a winding melodic path underneath Ana Perrote's earnest vocals on perhaps the loveliest composition on I Don't Run, further proof of the care with which these selections were composed and arranged.

If the easy and familiar interplay of vocalists Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote is what originally made Hinds such a delightful proposition a few years back, the singers are now also parts of a musically-muscular four-some. And what makes so much of I Don't Run work so well, most notably the sublime "Tester" with its rev-ups and wind-downs, is the way the players here work together. That cut, a faintly Pixies-ish approximation, is invigorating and the sort of thing that soars, even amid the Janet Weiss-style attack on the kit from drummer Amber Grimbergen on this one. The clear highlight of I Don't Run, "Tester" is followed by "Finally Floating", this album's "Garden", a hooky bit of indie-pop business. And those cuts, like the fun "To The Morning Light", and the peppy "Rookie", nod back to those early releases from this band, when things sounded spontaneous and carefree.

If lots of I Don't Run retains that sort of appeal, the overall sound is more robust this time around, with the musicians having found a way to make music that's both thoughtful and (seemingly) effortlessly simple. There was always something pure and unaffected in the music of Hinds, and if that quality now vies with moments that (clearly) indicate a greater level of attention paid in the studio, the overall effect is still a wonderful one, as the tunes here positively bounce with life.

It's just so hard to be impartial about this group. And that's great. The world needs more indie-pop like this, stuff that reminds a listener how much fun life can be, even as people grow up.

I Don't Run by Hinds will be out on Friday via Mom + Pop Music.

More details on Hinds via the band's official Facebook page, or their official website.

[Photos: Neelam Khan Vela (top); Alberto Van Stokkum (middle)]