‘Just Like Kids (Mau)’ doesn’t just give us the title for Hinds’ The Prettiest Curse, it shows a band who are sticking up for themselves. Not by shouting back, but by being far too busy with their role of entertaining others and having fun to worry about unrequested assessments.
You’d think given the band’s growth and success in the past few years; praise would be almost universal. That’s not how the (music) world works, and if Hinds have grown tired of their accomplishments being viewed through a prism of merely being girls in a band, they’ve answered their critics in the best possible manner.
The group’s evolution on The Prettiest Curse is to be hailed, and explored. The introduction of Spanish elements, notably in ‘Come Back And Love Me’ helps to reinvigorate the band, and ties them closer to home than they have been in recent years.
Even though they bound with youthful energy and stamina, Hinds have logged a lot of hours on the road and in the air in recent years. Therefore, it’s no surprise that tribulations of touring life pepper the record. The distance from loved ones can be harder than the physical miles travelled, and for all this is an exuberant celebration built for everyone, it’s personal and all the more engaging.
In both ‘Good Bad Times’ and ‘Riding Solo’, Hinds have delivered the classic pop song trick. Musically, you’ll be swept up and away, nodding and singing along with the chorus, while the lyrics are melancholic and hint at frustration.
The topics are familiar to long-time listeners, but as with the sound, there is an evolution, diving deeper and explaining more. Maturity doesn’t have to mean boring or equate to losing a spark, it can mean having more confidence, and this is a record which swaggers and sashays in equal measure.
While the songs released in the build-up to the album immediately stand out, ‘Waiting For You’, ‘Boy’ and ‘Take Me Back’ both have the power to jostle for your favourite song from the record. On some days they will be, but that’s fine because the competition is fierce. Give me a tightly packed highly-consistent ten-track record over a meandering mess filling space and killing time any day.
The phrase the album of the summer may not be the compliment in 2020 that it would be in other years, but it fits perfectly here. Ideally, this set of songs would be sound-tracking festivals, campsites, long drives and socialising with friends. This might not happen, but anyone looking for an album that offers hope and positivity in abundance, you’ve got everything you need. Good bad times indeed.
The Prettiest Curse is released on 5th June via Lucky Number.