When Madrid-based quartet Hinds‘ debut record Leave Me Alone was released in 2016, it was a breath of fresh air in the overcrowded garage scene. The idiosyncrasies that poured out of Chili Town and Bamboo offered a genuinely unique take on a well-worn genre. For their follow-up, the group have teamed up with producer Gordon Raphael, of The Strokes fame. His successes with the New Yorkers, and Hinds’ early promise, suggested I Don’t Run would be another winning effort.
In many respects everything that made their debut so beguiling is present again this time round. The lo-fi scruffiness of both Leave Me Alone and Raphael’s production style saturates the record. Then again, I Don’t Run is also a more finely tuned effort, and in the process of that tuning, much of the band’s oddball charm has been forfeited. The hip-sway rhythms of New For You don’t quite match the ramshackle delight of some of their more off-beat efforts. Equally, the surf guitars, bobbling bass-line and bubblegum melody don’t impress themselves as strongly as they might.
That said, there are some markedly enjoyable moments on the record. The sleepy vocals and the lovely melodic guitar line of Linda frame lovely couplets like “When you ring my bell/ I wanna be ready for your smell.” The tweeting birds in the background of Tester highlight that the production really is something to revel in. Its realness is delightful, and the resulting scuzziness underscores the lack of character in many modern records in the pursuit of clinical perfection. And Finally Floating sees a return of their bratty, spiky snarl that is sadly largely absent from the rest of the record.
Despite clocking in at only 11 songs long, the record, strangely, feels slightly overlong. But while it mightn’t be as carefree as their first, a charming looseness remains. Overall the lingering feeling is that I Don’t Run is a pleasant enough listen, and one that would happily soundtrack many a summer barbecue, but it falls short of the promise of their debut. Hinds have returned with a good record, but not a great one. Hopefully next time around they’ll reconnect with the eccentricities that made their first record uniquely satisfying.