With 2013 EP The Thoughts That Weigh Me Down Berkshire-based four-piece Hindsights sounded like a band on the verge of big things indeed. Across the five tracks on show there was a Hell of a lot of promise, jammed in alongside thoughtful lyrics and ambitious hooks. On its follow-up, and the band’s debut full-length, Cold Walls / Cloudy Eyes Hindsights are a band undoubtedly delivering on the promise of big things, and in doing so they establish themselves as one of the UK’s hottest prospects in alternative music, with a record which feels like it should be competing with the likes of the genres more popular US counterparts.
As with a lot of what Hindsights have released thus far there’s a distinct emo edge to their debut full-length which lends itself well to their songs. On The Thoughts That Weigh Me Down the band gravitated towards this cathartic dynamic, and they’ve honed it here, making the record increasingly affecting. Think along the lines of Grandview, Basement and Moose Blood, and then pat yourself on the back for liking those bands. All three of the above released very confident debut LP’s, and Hindsights have followed suit, meaning that Cold Walls feels self assured musically despite lyrical content which is openly self-deprecating. Crisp, melodic guitars and churning instrumentation complement angst-ridden and emotional lyrics, and in this latter regard there’s a weight to the record which leaves it burdened enough that it’s relatable and affecting without laying it on too thick. On Sore primary vocalist Benio Baumgart sings ‘I’ve been tired for years and that’s never changing’, whilst Pensive is aptly named, the chorus anthemic but reflective with the lines ‘Keep me at ease / I need time to loosen up / I’ve been grating down my teeth now I can’t speak.‘ Never feeling clichéd, and always somewhat claustrophobic, Cold Walls / Cloudy Eyes is grounded and grounding, with lyrical highlight Waiting Room a suckerpunch; I found that I connected with it a great deal, especially during the records standout lines – ‘All I want is to stay strong enough to miss you but in reality I still want you / You fell asleep and I wish I fell asleep with you too.’ Heavy.
The record has these frequent downer moments, but it also fizzes with a few more upbeat, optimistic selections, with the likes of Out of my Skull and Daze closer to a pop-punk feel, whilst Colour Blind has a distinct, grunge inspired spirit to it. It makes Cold Walls / Cloudy Eyes a varied record which never feels too familiar or repetitive, balancing itself perfectly between energy and emotion, finding this sweet spot constantly. At its loudest it’s electric and emphatic, whilst at its calmest it’s a mellowing experience, something to take the weight off. Granted, it’s a common equilibrium in the genre, but Hindsights make the most of it, with some tracks starting melancholic and ending majestic, full of life. It’s the case with fourth track See You Soon, which begins stripped back before blowing up, making excellent use of the slightly contrasting dual vocals of Baumgart and fellow guitarist Billy Hutton. Along with drummer Jack Perry and bassist Miles Hay Hindsights go through the notions across the span of their 29-minute debut, and it actually helps that a lot of the songs here clock in at under three minutes. They’re short and sharp, see Cold Walls, and they mean that the record passes quickly but certainly makes its mark, hooking you early with the tone-setting, memorable Everything Inside Me Echoed and keeping you keen until the final note of huge finale and highlight Sore rings out. It’s an inspired and inspiring record from start to finish, and it’s one which merits and rewards repeat listens.
On Cold Eyes / Cold Walls Hindsights deliver a release which ticks every box a debut full-length should and then some. It hardly puts a foot wrong across its duration, and upon conclusion I found it difficult to resist another playthrough, just because I knew I’d enjoy the record as much tenth time around as I did the first. That’s a pretty great quality for a debut – or any record for that matter – to have, and it’s a testament to just how good Cloudy Eyes / Cold Walls is.
Listen to: Cold Walls / Waiting Room / Sore