Album Review: Hinds – The Prettiest Curse

Prettiest Curse 1

Reflected by the spring easing its way into summer, the light at the end of tunnel shines a little bit brighter.

Whilst society isn’t quite settled into the ‘new normal’ just yet, with gargantuan question marks still hanging over the future of the music industry, at the very least the first wave of the apocalypse is over.

Originally scheduled for release in April, Hinds’ third album The Prettiest Curse is now set for June 5th, come hell or high water (which, in 2020, have to be regarded as possibilities). Indeed, when Live4ever spoke to co-vocalist Ana Garcia Perrote from her home country of Spain during the lockdown, she was adamant: ‘It’s definitely coming out in June. Worst case scenario, if we’re still in lockdown or something, we’re still going to release’.

Such are the earth-shattering effects of the pandemic, the worst-case scenario is here as both the UK and Spain continue to live in this perpetual lockdown, but The Prettiest Curse is the shining explosion of joyous pop that people will need. A real shift from Hinds’ quasi-lo-fi sound, the album is stocked to the gills with pop hooks and colourful imagery that’s reflected in the music.

Right from the off, first single Good Bad Times is sugar in song without being saccharine. For the first time Hinds opt to sing some lyrics in their native tongue, the subject matter of a riposte to a lover sounding even more scathing in two languages. The jauntiness continues into Just Like Kids, but whilst both Perrote and Cossial’s vocal deliveries sometimes veer into childlike waters, the subject matter (of being patronised by the opposite sex) does justice to it. Similarly, playground noises bracket Boy, but the (slightly muffled) chiming guitar pierces through the noise.

The guitar is king on the album. Where they were once garage rock, Hinds have set their sights on a more widescreen sound, and on Burn it’s so high and so prominent in the mix so as to be headache-inducing. The kiss is also kissed on the epic pop of Take Me Back. In contrast, The Play is more percussion heavy, while the sleepy and wistful This Moment Forever is intimately romantic. Good to their word, Hinds have thrown everything at the album.

Best of all is the joyous seesaw of Riding Solo; swamped in screams and effects but also deft, it’s nearly a straight reinterpretation of M.I.A.’s Paper Planes bar the bullet sounds. Whilst it’s perhaps a little too deferential, taking inspiration from a classic is no bad thing.

With help from producer Jennifer Decilveo, Hinds have shrugged off any vestiges of the lo-fi accusations regularly thrown their way and embraced the kaleidoscope of pop. ‘I literally cannot wait,’ Perrote told us. ‘We’ve for so long been writing, so long recording…We were so, so ready. We put so much work into it, and everything sounds, I think, different. It’s just very exciting.’

Such diligent attitude to quality control in their work has so far stood Hinds in good stead and, while delayed, The Prettiest Curse is worth the wait.


Richard Bowes

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