If you want some upbeat and affectionate tunes to brighten your mood, look no further, because Hinds just put out their lively third album, The Prettiest Curse. Hailing from Madrid, the vibrant garage rock outfit – made up of Carlotta Cosials (vocals, guitar), Ana Perrote (vocals, guitar), Ade Martin (bass, backing vocals) and Amber Grimbergen (drums) – have a knack for turning their live show experience into an energetic party. That same element of fun surrounds this LP like a colorful aura. On top of being catchy, the ten-track record is overflowing with mellifluous harmonies and openhearted lyrics.
Discussing the album’s title, Carlotta Cosials stated in the 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.” The announcement, which mentions the band’s “girl-gang, garage rock roots,” confirms that it’s the first time Hinds have released songs performed in their native tongue. The Prettiest Curse – recorded in New York City and produced by Jenn Decilveo (The Wombats, Bat for Lashes) – has a diverse range of instrumentation, including keyboards. Many listeners have pointed out that it sounds more pop-ish compared to their prior two albums.
Released on Mom + Pop records, the album was initially slated to come out in April, but delayed until June due to COVID-19. At that point in the pandemic, Hinds felt it was more important to look after each other’s well-being, stating, “Right now, things are a bit scary in Spain and the coronavirus is something that is affecting a lot of our loved ones, so for right now we think all of our focus should be on staying safe and staying home, not promoting a new album.” During quarantine, Hinds recorded video performances of 2018 song “New For You” and new album single “Come Back and Love Me <3” separately at each band member’s home.
Digging in with a sticky beat and bassline, album opener “Good Bad Times” sounds like a love song before the lyrics reveal a twist: “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.” This song is the first to reveal their lovely new blend of Spanish and English lyrics, even alternating line-by-line at one point: “And every time you talk to me / Diciéndome qué hago por ahí / And every time you talk to me / Siento que tengo dueño.” Unless you speak both languages, you might miss the subtle story, as it translates to: “And every time you talk to me / Telling me what I do out there / And every time you talk to me / I feel that I have an owner.’
Being the badasses they are, Hinds mock some of the prejudiced and sexist comments they’ve received in “Just Like Kids (Miau)” (during which they also drop the album title, The Prettiest Curse). “Where you from with that accent? Does it let you pronounce? Are you Spanish or something? Wait, can you roll your R’s?” they mimic with extra sass in the vocals. Upon the release of this bubbly single, Hinds noted, “‘Miau’ is a cocktail of all the comments and ‘advice’ we’ve had to listen to during all these years in the band. From random strangers, ‘friends,’ and industry. Oh wait… the guy sitting next to you in the bus probably has an opinion too! If you wondered ‘how does it feel to be a girl in a band?’ here you go.”
“Riding Solo” combines a buoyant tune with contrastingly pensive lyrics – such as “All rooms feel kind of empty if you’re not on the inside / I had a realization, you’re my favorite space and time.” Next song “Boy,” which starts with the sound of a soda can opening, certainly adds to the LP’s summery vibe. Hinds weave more sinuous Spanish lines into the story – like “Me da miedo que a lo lejos no recuerda / Me de miedo que se crea que me pierde,” which roughly translates to: “I’m afraid that in the distance he doesn’t remember / I am afraid that he will lose me.”
That emoticon heart in the title of “Come Back and Love Me <3” is fitting, because Cosials called it “the most romantic song we’ve ever done,” thanks to the “bossa-nova vibes [drummer and bassist] Amber and Ade created.” Painting a portrait of that missed-opportunity kind of love, the song begins with “Hey, you came at the wrong, wrong time / With all the problems that I already had,” going on to plead for that lover’s return. It’s a classic story followed by a less traditional one. “Burn” has an independent attitude that matches its spunky sound: “Take my heart ‘cause I don’t want it / Teach me how to feel without it / Watch it ‘cause it might be burning / Have it ‘cause I can’t afford it.”
The relatable moods continue with “Take Me Back,” which opens with, “I woke up sick of not being enough / My birds are still singing yesterday’s song.” Over a sound that would fit right into a surfer movie soundtrack, its chorus changes from “Don’t take me back” to “So take me back” as if reflecting everyday uncertainties. Kicking up the tempo in the next track, “The Play,” Hinds cook up a guitar-heavy treat that comes with a surprise ending. “I don’t want your compassion ’cause I was built for action / Fuck tomorrow if today never ends / Me cago en la puta de este puto traste,” the last line meaning, “I shit on the bitch of this fucking fret.”
The penultimate “Waiting For You” has a wistful melody that could finish out an important episode in a TV drama. While the title seemingly suggests they’re waiting for someone in a faithful way, it’s actually about being done waiting for that person who won’t commit. “I hope you like it better by yourself / You’re always chasing, chasing something else / Yeah, I don’t know why you haven’t gone away.” Slowing things down in its tender finale, The Prettiest Curse (available on light blue vinyl here) ends with “This Moment Forever.” Hinds are clearly sticking to the topic of love when they sing, “Such a beautiful, clumsy silence in your arms / With your heartbeat as a lullaby.” But knowing how much they enjoy playing music together, perhaps the meaning of this closer is even deeper when they intone, “I want to live in this moment forever.”
Article: Olivia Isenhart