It’s not that the words “garage pop” have never tickled my fancy, exactly. They certainly sound cool, especially when they’re put next to each other – they seem in contradiction, one oozing grungy pretension and the other gently blowing pink sugar into your face. Unfortunately, the music itself is what I find… difficult.
But put “Spanish girl group” and “normcore” in front of those two words, and suddenly I don’t care how difficult my experiences with garage pop may have seemed. And so, the first LP presented by Spanish normcore girl group Hinds, Leave Me Alone, enters into my consciousness. You expect normcore girls to be the epitome of cool and of taste. But people don’t live in just one box, a refrain I must repeat to myself over and over again.
Hinds is pessimistic youth, from the way they dress to the content of their videos, to the overlay on each track — rather than harmonizing, they sloppily speak over each other. Often, they aren’t even singing the same things. As one member finishes a line, drawing out the last word, another intentionally interrupts, unapologetic, because she too has something to say.
“Warts” deviates from the sound of the first two songs off the album, just ever-so-slightly. The distortion on the guitar subsides, and while every song on Leave Me Alone sounds like a beach track, the mellowed-out instrumental backing in “Warts” brings the group’s overall sound right up to the shore. “Warts”, like each and every one of Hinds’ tracks, features a lot of meaningless noises and simpering shrieks towards the end of the track, which really ties it all together in a gloriously petulant way.
Speaking of chilled-out beach vibes, “Solar” — the only instrumental piece off the album — paints a picture of a perfect day, sitting in Retiro Park in Madrid by the lake. It’s May, the sun hotter than you imagine a spring day’s sun could be. You’re wearing a black, ruffled bikini top and cut-off shorts, and you’ve just found the perfect place to throw down your towel.
You kick off your Keds and stick your toes in the water, watching ducks heckle tourists for bread crumbs as the sun sparkles on the water. A paddle-boat passes by and you lay back, closing your eyes, as the song fades out and is replaced by snippets of Spanish coming from a nearby family you can only half-hear. The beauty of an instrumental track like “Solar” is its ability to create a visual behind its shimmering guitars, lazily floating in and out of view.
Four Spanish chicks getting drunk on a bottle of whiskey, alternate takes between angry and giggly, lip-syncing as close to the camera as they can get without actually touching it. Four silly girls throwing chips into each other’s mouths, pretending to pout to the camera only to burst into laughter, plastering themselves with temporary tattoos and trading swigs of a bottle of OJ. Add to these elements the lines I am stealing your cigars / just ‘cuz they’re closer than mine and the repetition of all I’m asking is for you to make a move and you get a syrupy sundae of ambivalence and lazy nights at local bars.
There’s so much wanting in this album, but the wanting is tinged with levity, of understanding that wanting to be famous and wanting sex is always there in you, but it’s not an important thing. It’s all about having a laugh, even if every song is dripping with vaguer notions of desire that Hinds-the-band and you-the-listener can’t quite reach. Sometimes the fun-loving stands strong against the ambitious. The desire for that perfect San Diego night to play on repeat is tempered by the knowledge that the perfect nights of the future will be just as endless.
What I’m trying to say here is that nothing else matters because you have your band, and you have your girls. Your life is the best kind of indie movie, and everything will be okay.
Carson is a 23-year-old who discovered the joys of the Backstreet Boys two years ago, when she fell down a pink fur-lined rabbit hole into the world of pop. She has since taken it upon herself to make an exodus into the underbelly of the glitter-covered beast. You can find her Spotify account here and you can also find her on Tumblr.