Hinds take us from bad times to great times with exhilarating new album The Prettiest Curse.
The third album from the Madrid-based quartet (Carlotta Cosials, Ana Perrote, Ade Martin and Amber Grimbergen) couldn’t have come at a better time. As we tentatively take our baby steps into the “new normal”, Hinds are there to hold our hands (not literally, of course). The Prettiest Curse (out 5 June via Lucky Number) may be their most complex and candid release to date, but it retains the grin-inducing exuberance that has become synonymous with this band.
The title alludes to Hinds embracing the changes that have come with being in the band. Cosials said in a press release, “We have this incredible job, but it’s really transformed the way we live…we know we’re not going to stop, so we’ve decided to embrace it — to see this curse as something pretty.” Unwittingly they’ve summed up a wider feeling – some good things can come out of bad experiences. It is also about a band continuing to celebrate who they are and where they come from, prominently singing in their native tongue for the first time and having legendary Spanish photographer Ouka Leele design the album artwork.
Album opener ‘Good Bad Times’ has a yearning, almost mournful, tone with a synth-led groove. Reflecting on the difficulties created by physical and mental distance in a relationship, there is the question of whether a situation is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ that runs throughout the whole album: “You’re turning good times into bad times, now that you’re no longer sleeping with me. Bad times are a good sign, maybe I’m no longer as nice as you think”.
Continuing with the perspective of life in a band ‘Just Like Kids (Miau)’ is a raucous two-fingers up at all the ‘helpful advice’ the band members have been given, with the dual vocals adding to the intensity. ‘Riding Solo’ addresses the feeling of loneliness on the road and has a bassy groove and crescendos of fuzz that demands to be played at full volume.
The band have labelled ‘Come Back And Love Me <3’ the most romantic song they’ve ever done. The breathy vocals combined with the Spanish guitars and swaying bossa-nova flow of the track give it a dreamy intimacy. Hinds have a real talent for making a recording sound like it’s the first time they have played the song. The raw energy isn’t polished out of every track so a song like this retains all the emotion from when it was first written. Despite these quieter moments, Hinds haven’t lost any of the riotous joy and feeling of punky empowerment that first drew me to them back in 2016. This is evolution not revolution. ‘Burn’ is the sound of a band that is still a gang at heart (“remember the day he tried to make you behave”).
The Prettiest Curse is evolution, not revolution. Hinds have unleashed a bigger, bolder approach while holding on tightly to who they are. Uncompromising and uplifting as ever, they’ve unlocked the sound of summer when we needed it most.