Spanish indie-rock band Hinds adds depth and complexity to its sound on its sophomore album, “I Don’t Run,” while continuing what its members do best: making fun, bittersweet music about the messes and misadventures that come with living and loving as a young adult.
As a grandiose guitar riff dives into a rowdy intro on lead track “The Club,” main vocalists Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote clearly intend to feature unfettered emotional sincerity on their latest project. The duo not-so-subtly challenges a lover to shed their hesitations and live in the moment by asking “politely … what the hell do they have / that you want so bad?”
The feisty girl group thrives on a fierce persona that plays into the classic, rebellious indie-rocker identity. “Hinds,” a name the band adopted after its former name, Deers, was legally challenged by a band called The Dears, takes the musical traditions that inspired their music and transforms it into a complex — and, at times, contradictory — emotional exploration.
Hinds’ vocals overlap and interact with each other, producing raucous and incomprehensible swaths of sound that characterize the band’s carefree approach to its music. The essence of the songs, though, can still be gleaned without being able to make out their exact lyrics; the chaos that comes with these intertwining vocals clearly expresses the band’s message.
On “Soberland,” Hinds’ emotional honesty bares a more vulnerable side that returns as a motif throughout the album. The group refuses to delude itself about the realities of growing up. “How am I supposed to love you and stay away,” Perrote and Cosials croon over a playful and light-hearted backing track that contrasts with the realism of the lyrics.
This vulnerability is developed further on the lead single “New For You,” which ironically combines unadulterated confidence in tone and backing track with lyrics that share intimate insecurities. The single perfectly embodies Hinds’ attitude toward life: taking everything one day a time and — perhaps most importantly — not too seriously.
Even though the group bounces from track to track with airy guitar riffs and lively drums, the subject matter rarely feels unimportant or banal. In most cases, the cheeky backing tracks and vocals save the songs from moody, angsty indie-rock cliches.
“To The Morning Light” and “Finally Floating” capture the frustration with love that forms yet another aspect of Hinds’ thematical repertoire. The fast-paced “Finally Floating” reflects the way a lover can try to escape thinking about a partner, only to lie in bed and think of nothing else. Failure to meet their own ideal of being happy despite what life throws at them frustrates the band’s members; in “To The Morning Light,” Cosials and Perrote lets their facade of leisure falter, and anger bubbles in their voices.
With these conflicting emotions in mind, “I Feel Cold But I Feel More” sobers the ready-to-party attitude and substitutes it with a cautious acceptance that represents a greater emotional maturity in Hinds’ songwriting. Additionally, the song hints at the directions Hinds’ music may take moving forward. Through its reluctant acknowledgement that adulthood may not always be a party, the track paves the way for the band’s voice to develop as its members age.
Despite this introspective interlude, Hinds pushes on and returns to the impossible game of trying to define a relationship in “Rookie,” a youthful and daring song. Perrote and Cosials sing in unison, “We want to fall in love / If you’re doing it wrong, at least do it strong.”
Perrote and Cosials know that this time in their lives will not last forever, and the plucky guitar riff at the end of the song signals a sense of urgency to make the most of youth. On album’s closer “Ma Nuit,” however, the vocals lower to a distant, echo-filled and practically indistinguishable hum.
Alongside an acoustic guitar and paired with the only Spanish lyrics on the album, “Ma Nuit” sounds like one of the most authentic songs, even though it differs in tone from their usual work. Here, Hinds spotlights longing and insecurity without the usual fanfare of percussion and guitar. “Ma Nuit” complicates the happy-go-lucky persona of Hinds without falling into a caricature of angst and over-seriousness, and this distinction makes “I Don’t Run” stand out.
With an emphasis on authenticity in the face of difficult realities that come with transitioning into adulthood, “I Don’t Run” refuses to be reduced to a generic indie-rock album. Instead, it brings a level of emotional complexity that reminds the listener that even in hardship, having a little fun is still O.K.