As a rule, I am loathe to bang on about one specific band. However, since I reviewed the first song to be released from Hindsights‘ new record, I managed to grab a sneaky early listen to the finished product. As I’ve said before, the past two years of their existence has seen them achieve a lot more than I’m sure even they could have expected, and this new record really seals the deal, as biased as I may be, this band are something special.
Now, their original demo in 2011 and Weathered in 2012 were the sort of releases that new bands ought to be writing: full of energy and with lyrics that ‘set the scene’. Last year’s split with American emo crew Wester hinted at change, progression, steps towards maturity. Admittedly, it was only two tracks, but The Thoughts That Weigh Me Down confirms all these suspicions, dropping their youthful subjects of tedious holidays, post-tour blues and the like, and steps up to confront something very real. In some ways, the record is a ‘concept’ EP. Talking to guitarist Billy, it’s revealed that it is based on a day lived with depression. Indeed, the lyrics in the opening track are almost uncomfortably poignant: “I’m awake and I’m scared / It’s way too early for this” and “I used to be a morning person / Now my bedsheets hold my worries“. Simplistic they may seem, but put singer Benio’s explosively-emotional voice behind it, and it sends shivers down your spine.
The record keeps up this more steady but powerful pace, while still being overtly more sophisticated than their previous releases, until penultimate track ‘Watercolour Sunset’ tones down proceedings. This is obviously a deliberately more reserved affair, feeling ballad-esque almost. Ironically, for a fairly jangly and light-hearted sounding track, the lyrics re-emphasise the tone of the EP: “Green eyes, give me some light / The medication did us fine“. If I had to choose one thing that makes this record what it is, it would be Benio’s frank and heartfelt lyrics.
The only thing I can possibly fault TTTWMD on is that closing track ‘Daydreams’ is something of a mixed bag. The final track on Hindsights’ first EP Weathered was, and still is, one of the most powerful songs they’ve written, for me at least. The sheer emotion and drive of ‘Fisherman’s Wharf’ is for the first half of the song, nowhere to be found; the guitars lack the same punch, the vocals start to dwindle. At a guess, I would say that this is the influence of the dreamy and distant tones of bands like Tigers Jaw. However, they are not Tigers Jaw. They are Hindsights. And that is not at all a dig at them. Hindsights are an exceptional band; the point is that they don’t need the sound of Tigers Jaw because what they have already is their own and it is superb. The song does pick up towards the end, the hefty guitars and Benio’s relentless vocals reappearing: “I’ve slowed down / Can you forgive me?“. For me, I think that it is because the rest of the record is so staggeringly impressive and well written that ‘Daydreams’ is the least satisfying track of the bunch.
That said, taken as a whole, TTTWMD is an extremely powerful and mature record. Anyone who has ever felt utterly hopeless should listen to it and take comfort in another person putting the feelings that are often so difficult to describe into words and music. And while ‘Daydreams’ might not be the closer that ‘Fisherman’s Wharf’ was, it’s doubtful that Hindsights were trying to write the same thing. This, I believe, is a band growing up very very fast, but coping very very well with the changes.
The Thoughts That Weigh Me Down is due to be released through Beach Community, October 7th, and the band will be on tour from the 11th-17th October.
All of Hindsights’ music can be listened to here.