The Hinnies
NME 21 September 1991

There's a nasty, malevolent undercurrent to The Hinnies. From shambolic pop beginnings they've evolved into an untrustworthy beast harping on about "I dream that your skin is so thin it would tear apart". The Pixies with pick-axes, basically. Just don't give them the keys to the mechanical digger, otherwise it'll be Goodbye Tottenham.

Reviewed by Simon Williams.
Melody Maker, 1991

Didn't know they were like this - a less writer than me would make this Single Of The Week, no problem. The roots of this EP lie right at the heart of The Scene That Can Now Tie Its Own Shoe Laces (With A Little Help From Its Friends) - the male/female harmonies on the first track recall The Valentines at a pinch; on the second, a more fully-realised Bleach - yet the songs also possess a singularity, a dreamy-time urgency which lifts them far above Merton and Reading and all that.

Hmmm. I dunno. It's probably the sampled snippets of radio broadcasts and tribal rhythms that introduce the title track, the off-kilter, beautifully too-highly-pitched guitar on "Gong", which warms me to The Hinnies when I find myself growing colder by the second to their more renowned colleagues. Or maybe it's the fact they can write more than halfway reasonable tunes, or that on the mesmeric "Beautiful" they have a distinct identity shining through the murk and hidden splendour. Mind, the closing track, "The Grace", is appalling.

An untapped goldmine of a band.
NME 8 May 1992

Doodle EP (Bad Girl)
Quite what these people are on about is unclear but their odd mixture of Country rock Beach Boy Prefab Sprout Lloyd Cole pop (yup, that old one again. Don't you get fed up with Country rock Beach Boy Prefab Sprout Lloyd Cole pop all the time?) is an appalling one. You are particularly directed towards 'Jesus In The Driving Rain' which is a very good song. A stupid one, admittedly, but very good. Most odd.

Reviewed by David Quantick.
Siren Magazine, issue 10, May 1992

"Doodle EP" (Big Cat)
Very delicate opening, as "Jesus In The Driving Rain" weeps its little heart out, gradually bringing more layers, not unlike those Australian weirdos... what was their name? The Go-Betweens, that's them! Ha!
"Doodle" and "With You" get heavier. The Hinnies are ploughing their own furrows, in the corner of a field forever sparsely populated it seems. They have all the attractions you could want, and you shouldn't let their lack of cool quotient put you off.
NME 28 Nov 1992

Probably the best cut from the band's patchy but promising debut LP 'Big Four'; rattling along in a singalonga Pixies vein with a killer chorus and strident riffing guitar. Currently picking up the occasional play on daytime Radio 1, which can't be bad, can it?
Melody Maker, date unknown

Jane Pow are Not Bad. Official. Theirs is an undeveloped, getting-there sound layered with underdone vocals and (more) noisy post-"Isn't Anything" guitars that lean on the treble to the point of earache. Some of their songs do, however, display a promising degree of jagged rumbustiousness (isn't that a great word?) and given another six months or so, Jane Pow will be either a fairly substantial something or an identikit nothing.

The Hinnies, on the other hand, have some better idea of what they're about and while they're chiselling their art from the same genre as their support (guitars / bass / drums-dreamy-melodies-over-guitar-fuss etc etc etc), The Hinnies are a bit more flexible, a little less self-restricted. They can move at more than one speed, and that's a depressingly rare thing at the moment.

The song they start with boasts a collapsing riff and sounds a bit like The Clean. Others are pinned by inisistent, plinking hooks reminiscent of, um, Brilliant Corners or someone. There's a baggy one. And a particularly excellent one about a girl on fire which makes up in arresting Straitjacket-Fits-like vocal interplay what it lacks in devastating originality in the metaphor department - ie: quite a lot.

The Hinnies are a sackfull of promise. Silly name though.

Andrew Mueller
Sounds, date unknown

Another local trio slogging out the full 15 rounds on the gruelling snakepit support circuit, Dass Unser lack little in grit and determination.

A top grade for guts then, but this plucky spirit is overshadowed by a pleasantly mellow but unremarkable pop shimmer that languidly nuzzles its way into New Order's kennel circa 'Temptation'. A human drummer and fewer jangly chords could well do wonders.

Earning a welcome break from ennui-stricken London audiences, The Hinnies admirably eschew pretension and exude a rough-hewn charm in an initial power pop surge that threatens to recall those heady days of chainsaw bubblegum perfected by the Buzzcocks in late '77.

A wimpy 'Love Special Roundabout' clocks vocalist Roger involved in three-note Shelley solo vein, his weedy fidgeting taking on blistering bar chords, while the pound-along 'Speed Boat Boy' cements the positive reaction.

Mightily infectious, near-Wonder Stuff dynamism takes over for the fizzing 'Beam Town', and rhythm guitarist Tim switches to acoustic for the drawn-out 'Burn', where Roger's inquisitive larynx adopts anxiety as he repeats "...this soul's on fire!"

'Spongy Groove' - the probable debut waxing - is another can of wasps again, topping up a psychedelic tan that could just wriggle through the net as the present dance trance prevails.

Tonight greeted with a dreary indifference, The Hinnies need pay little heed and take heart as they possess both natty tunes and a disarming, anti-contrivance approach. Given time, these guitars could maim and terrorise at will.

Tim Peacock
NME 16 Feb 1991

Lurking in this dingy basement is an interstellar cellar treasure. Submitted for your approval are The Hinnies, whose post-Pixies marauding with a difference is all set to capture more than the intermittent accolades of assorted Northern Line fuzzies.

Well, what's a Hinnie exactly? They're obviously never going to win any style wars, as one look at the bassist's painful sub-Urban Cowboy shirt will certainly bear out. The war they might win has more to do with (wait for it) substance, since a collection of very strong tunes is what's presently available here.

Every last one's a dusky flower, caught in the tension of taut, aggressive playing and loose-limbed, fluid voices. Simply put, the Hinnies play with such obvious, on-the-face conviction that having seen them there's no denying them even part of their dreams.

A scree of lead guitars is followed with delicate singing, the juxtaposition of sugar and spice in 'Sixteen Song' capturing perfectly a feeling of disbelief suspended. "You will see me through", they sing, and there's no problems with that. Their new single 'Too Fat For Triumph' gets an airing, and it's awash in attack-mode chords and unusually direct vocals. This second effort proves this particular band isn't drowning in the chasm of one idea.

Given such efforts as 'The Grace' and 'Ride The Waves', whose titles point out a dreaminess only hinted at on their recorded output, they're versatile, honest and expressive, capable of the finest sorts of sonic transportation.

Susan Corrigan
Melody Maker, date unknown

The Hinnies start with weaving guitar rhythms and set the moods of their songs accordingly: racy and naïve, or dreamy. The opening number and single, "What You're On" proves to be the best of the former: Andrew Mueller once likened it to The Clean. Its B-side, "Spongy Groove", is exactly that, even though it's listed on the record as a "re-mix by Ian" (which I happen to know is the name of their van). Tonight this sense of humour doesn't come across. Their songs are obviously in strict order for full dynamic potential. And the extra guitarist lurking in the stage's shadows likewise. Somebody should tell them that Falcon gigs run on faith.

There still isn't what you'd call a lead guitar within earshot, despite the occasional bursts of concentration on the angelic face of the big guy, their main vocalist and guitarist. It doesn't matter. It's all in the flow, and their Sixties Californian harmonising echoes and voices, sometimes as many as three, coast along with barely a ripple. At their best ("The Same") it turns out bittersweet.

Melody Maker, date unknown

They hit the heart with four songs straight in a row. "Gong" is tight but sounds trippy and "Too Fat For Triumph" is their best yet. Singer Roger screams while the song swells until it grows big enough to shake each of us, personally, by the scruff of the neck, so that people clap politely, embarrassed at the surprising intimacy of the music.

The Hinnies are already less of a pop band and more a young guitar group with some very good songs. These days they feel their way through the set rather than skimming over one good tune so they can get on with the next, while the occasional guitar solo is nervous, but accomplished. There'd be musical similarities to The Clean if they weren't so tidy, so British. I'd love to see the suave Roger in a black suit with dickie bow tie and I never thought I'd say that. His vocal harmonies are perfectly in tune with rhythm guitarist Tim's liquid lyricism.

All this can be confusing. There's no need to make allowances for them, except bassist Charlie, who's worth his weight in Newcastle Brown in the stage personality stakes. As it happens, it's when he finally gets his sound together that the other's nice full chords with catchy rhythms take on personality, staying far from innocent, just short of angry in fact. All that's left to pick on is the glossy red drum kit, and drummer Jim's taste for the over-dramatic.

Melody Maker, date unknown

What's all this then? Last time I saw The Hinnies they were brash, noisy and mad. Pleasurable as this was, it isn't a touch on the polished four-piece I see before me. Roger and Tim are singing in swooping scales over a collection of finely chiselled tunes. One moment they're coming on like innocent schoolboys, the next they sway into Stooges-style abandon. Top that with Simon And Garfunkel heavenly harmonies and you've got a formula for success, let along a good night out.

If The Hinnies offer a speed-like buzz, then The Honeysmugglers are definitely LSD. A collage of colour, a photo-montage of Sixties sexiness and their own nihilistic approach to performing. For the first two numbers Chris is strangely subdued. He contents himself with singing in tune and thrashing out fragments of fun on his guitar. But Stevie C isn't so much playing his keyboards as trying to dismantle them. They squeal in protest, making the most glorious noise, like something from an episode of Thunderbirds.

They lock into a groove that's vicious, venomous and desperately funky. It has us revellers bouncing off the walls. Stevie C joins in the fun and dances straight into one. Now we're getting somewhere, Chris is playing the guitar with a drumstick. As the song whips the crowd to a frenzy he decides to cool 'em down by spitting beer over their lovingly combed mop-tops. A final flurry where he sings into a dictaphone and they're off.

Yes, there were moments tonight when both bands dived too deep into psychedelic silliness, but the power and perfection of their performances left us drooling for more. There are precious few gigs where I want to throw my notebook in the air and go and dance like a bastard. Best trip in town.

Melody Maker 16 May 1992

Fashion crisis hits Camden Town! Momma's (explosion) In A (clothing) Factory are the latest export from Japan to offend our timid sensibilities with garish togs and desperate rock 'n' roll pastiches. Logistically, they're a flared-up bassist meets a Patti Smith-style singer meets a couple of shambling guitarists meets a drum machine, but culturally they're a slap in the face with a cold fish. They do "Femme Fatale" and Western Culture ups sticks and moves to another planet. A band to change your underwear. See now.

The effect XFM (or Radio Catherine Wheel as it's known in the trade) has had on the London indie scene is perhaps best shown by this gig. Everyone seems to be waiting for "that" song. Being contrary sorts, the 'Nies save it till last, but the buzz created carries the rest of their material into our collective heart: it's almost as if the radio exposure has taught us how to appreciate The Hinnies, how to deal with their sly interpretation of rock's rich heritage.

The Hinnies have a vision. They see life and the open road as pretty much one and the same. Keep travelling and something better is always round the corner, thus "Everything Has A Rainbow" and their blissfully positive attitude. If you love life they you'll sing about it, loudly and in harmony with someone else, and if you love rock 'n' roll then you'll re-write it until it sounds like a cross between a contrary R.E.M. and a drugged-up Monkees.

The Hinnies have a vision and that vision is "Jesus In The Driving Rain", a pure blast of contentment that puts us in mind of the Violent Femmes. Which is, like, some compliment.

Brightened and enlightened. Breeze up to their higher ground.

Ian Watson
Melody Maker, date unknown

If there's on thing that defines The Hinnies, it's their individualistic spirit. Working within the realms of a massively over-subscribed genre - noise pop - they stand apart with their strong melodies and forceful harmonies, coating their growling guitars with some unsettling saccharine. In true psychedelic tradition they're both delicious and disorientating, a kaleidoscope trip into the past that's much more than recreational. They're quite a band, quite a band.

And so the defence rests. For most bands this would be more than enough, but for The Hinnies, brimming with potential and glistening with unrealised excellence, this is a thin showing from a far more substantial band. Sadly, many of the strengths mentioned above work against them tonight, the succulent harmonies leave the songs strangely emotionless and the spiked melodies are too indistinct to bear repeated exposure. Not that they completely lack character - the diary-like tones of "Fade Away" and the bizarre flute-led meanderings of "Doodle" display a wry and wilful psyche - it's just that it's all too often smothered by the unimaginative execution.

An uncut gem of a band yet to discover its own rare talent, The Hinnies are a glorious accident waiting to happen. Watch out for that bus, missus.

Ian Watson
NME, date unknown

Tonight's weekend-starts-here gig has its fair share of surprises. The Hinnies, looking like a gang of plumber's mates, clock in modestly with their rakish two-guitar strumalongs. But a wiggle of ingenuity and some neat vocal interplay later, and they end up inspiring an outbreak of 'dancing' that could've been scripted for a Do It All advert.

Add to this the continued, against all odds resuscitation of the Two Lost Sons: last year a BAD-inspired beatbox three-piece, now an eight-legged groove machine more in tune with the times. With hooded tops and Inspirals-style slideshow, their riff chic has suddenly got rhythm. The new set, with a 'real' drummer replacing the sacked machinery, adapts their punk-passion to more open ends with songs like 'I Want The Best' and the emphatic 'Water Into Wine'.

Problems (inevitably) stem from their left-over stiffness and over-blown rockisms - which blow their cool and backdate their vibe - but get this, the plaintive 'I Can Wait' is a better track than any of their peers have made all year, with its casual, loping trickery. The Sons frustrate me everytime, either outstaying their welcome or forgetting their strengths. But there's enough mettle here to show they're back in the game. And this time, with a dance-guitar bloody mindedness, they're determined not to lose out.

Steve Lamacq
Grateful thanks to James Mattison for supplying most of these clippings.
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