Music Reviews
The Prettiest Curse

Hinds The Prettiest Curse

(Mom + Pop/Lucky Number) Buy it from Insound Rating - 8/10

Don’t let the paint and powder on the cover art of Madrid-based Hinds’ third album, The Prettiest Curse, fool you. This is not some glossed up version of the band, but the same DIY ethos that we have come to love them for just wrapped in a boomier, buzzier package. The album concerns itself with matters no more fraught with complexity than boys, sex, and the ins and outs of the rock and roll lifestyle. And producer Jennifer Decilveo knows better than to push the four-piece to a place too far. The Prettiest Curse retains all of the band’s youthful abandon while dialing up bigger drums, fuzzier guitars, near-shout vocal choruses, and stray synth lines.

The front end of the album, in particular, is an embarrassment of easy to love songs. The brash Good Bad Times, with its mix of Spanish and English lyrics, gives way to the stop/start rhythms of Just Like Kids (Miau), contending with all manner of sexist insults that have been hurled their way. The song also contains the line of the album’s title in having to deal with being viewed as a “girl band,” but in following their instincts these hollow remarks are bowled over in their path. The solid one-two punch of the openers is followed by album highlight Riding Solo. As cool and breezy as the imagined private jet ride at its center, the song has a bit of fun with the loneliness of life on the road. It builds to a furious finish and collapses into a moment of repose.

A nylon-stringed acoustic guitar takes the lead on Come Back And Love Me <3 in a calypso tinged nod to live set staple cover, Caribbean Moon. Now the group has its sunset-inspired song to rely on. The latter half of the album benefits from the joyous shout-along of Burn, buoyed by Ade Martin’s soaring bass and a couple of frayed-at-the-edges solos from Ana Perotte. The see-saw guitar of Take Me Back allows plenty of space for lead singer Carlotta Cosials to tap into the initial ragged charm of the band’s earliest tracks.    

Of all the groups that had to delay plans and defer releases, pushing back The Prettiest Curse to the front end of the summer makes perfect sense. It’s a big and brash album that's made for the heat of the season. There may be some subtle shifts here and there, but overall, The Prettiest Curse revels in the simple pleasures of big hooks, chunky chord changes, and sing-a-long melodies. When a band can consistently deliver the goods, there’s no need to mess around too much with a winning formula.