INTERVIEW AND ALBUM REVIEW: HINDS – THE PRETTIEST CURSE (LUCKY NUMBER)
Amid a nationwide lockdown in Spain lasting for well over two months, Hinds have already had to push their album release back, but finally,The Prettiest Curse, via Lucky Number, is here. With a global pandemic it didn’t seem that times could get any more difficult. However, as I am sure you are all aware, police brutality and systematic racism is an ongoing issue that has been and is still of major threat to the black community, and it seems wrong to even entertain the idea of celebration. That being said, Hinds have released this statement on their thoughts surrounding the release of their album.
Please note: this interview took place at the beginning of May.
Ahead of their album release, I had the pleasure of speaking to Carlotta Cosials about all things Hinds! The Prettiest Curse is the musical equivalent to a cold beer on a hot day – refreshing, cool and very fun. Perhaps delaying the release by two months actually worked in favour of the girl group, Hinds. While the original date of April 3rd would have been just fine – after all, this was the date initially chosen for the release – there seems to be something different about letting an album out in the world at the beginning of summer. It almost comes as a ready-made soundtrack for your summer, which is exactly what this is.
Chatting on Zoom seems to be the “new-normal” now, so from my home in Manchester I was able to catch up with Carlotta at her home in Madrid. At the time of our call, lockdown had yet to be eased in Spain and so no outdoor exercise was permitted -“Lockdown SUCKS!” Carlotta aptly articulates, and I think I speak for all of us when I say “same.”
Having your release date postponed is never ideal, but as Carlotta explained, “technically speaking, it just [didn’t] make any sense. I mean, the album cannot even go out of the warehouse! And sentimentally speaking too, because around the time of April 3rd, it seemed to be the worst time. The whole world had slowed down a lot, so it was only right for us to slow down as well. Having June 5th as a date is perfect.”
Why the hell am I here? I don’t wanna be here!
This is the Madrid band’s third album, and with it shows an evolution of the all female force that is Hinds (made up of Carlota Cosials, Ana Perrote, Ade Martin and Amber Grimbergen). This evolution comes through heavily in the lyrics, which were wrote in a multitude of places, which Carlotta thinks “made [the album] more colourful. We wrote a part of it in LA, a part of it in London, and another part in Madrid too. I think the circumstances surrounding you affect the way you write, and it’s definitely not the same to write a song at 10am in London than at 8pm in LA. It really changes the mood and the themes that you talk about, and how you’re feeling. Because we weren’t in Madrid writing the album the whole time, I think this might be why the album has a bit of “I miss home” about it. Maybe not all the time, but some of the songs definitely seem to say something like ‘Why the hell am I here? I don’t wanna be here!'”
While the album’s sophistication shines through in songs like ‘The Play’ and ‘Good Bad Times’, which are more polished (albeit in a very Hinds way) through new instrumentals showcasing the girls’ maturity as a band, it still retains that fun buoyancy Hinds have always exuded. “Just Like Kids (Miau)”, the latest single to be released before the album, comes with a bout of silliness that is very much welcomed. The track is a “cocktail of all the comments and ‘advice’ [the band] have had to listen to during all the years in the band.” Being a girl is one thing, but being a girl in a band seems to be a whole other ball game.
“Dealing with criticism is difficult,” Carlotta notes, but “in the very beginning, it really affected us. I think that right now, we’ve grown up a little bit which is good and made us more mature. Even though in the lyrics [of ‘Miau’] at some point we say ‘nananana’ – very mature. I think that being a girl nowadays is still challenging, somehow, depending on the job you have in almost everything and everywhere.
I don’t want the project of Hinds to be reduced to only one message – I am a girl.
Sometimes though, it is exhausting to keep complaining because it feels like, sure, it helps to give the problem visibility but complaining all the time is exhausting for both me and you… and I don’t want the whole project of Hinds to be reduced to only one message – I am a girl. I don’t want my message to just be ‘I am a girl and I feel stuff’, my message is ‘I am a human being that feels stuff; I’m talking about loneliness and fears and being afraid and crisis and whatever. Things that anyone can feel! It’s tough because I obviously want to give visibility to the problem and be one hundred percent a feminist activist and on the other hand I just want to be an artist.
I think that ‘Miau’ is a great combination of taking criticism with a sense of humour and exposing the problem with a smile on our faces.”
The record shows the band harnessing their full potential as they unleash songs that dig deeper into a more complex and bolder Hinds. We see the girls explore singing and writing in Spanish which is “still pretty new” for them. “I really, really like how we can sounds when performing in Spanish – it makes us feel even more naked because we’re singing in the language that we think in! I love it, but I’m not sure if I prefer it just yet.” ‘Come Back and Love Me <3’ brings with it a more classic Spanish guitar, making it one of the most romantic songs the girls have done. Performing with two Spanish guitars (one is a cheap and small one, the other is from New York but its owner is under wraps), a boss-nova style is developed, serenading you smoothly throughout. This is also seen in the track ‘Boy’, a song that highlights their vulnerability – “I don’t want him to forget me when I’m gone.”
While the album may be released under strange and unprecedented circumstances, Hinds have undoubtedly brought some Spanish soul into our lives. This album sees the girls unveiling a deeper layer of themselves to reveal something more complex and mature than we have seen from them before. ‘This Moment Forever’ closes the album, a dreamy sounding track that incorporates muted guitar and piano with a soft, slow drum beat. It is a song that makes you want to listen to it forever, as the title suggests. And we shall do just that.
You can listen to the album below:
As a band, Hinds make most of their money from merchandise and so are re-issuing their best-seller t shirt, donating all net proceeds to @BTFAcollective (Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, USA), @ACER (African Career, Education, and Resource, USA), @AMAC (Asosciacion de Mujeres Africanas en Canarias, ESP) and @SOSracismomadrid (ESP). You can buy the t-shirt and support here.