The Hinnies
NME, date unknown

"On" column (new bands focus)

What's up with the people round here? The "crisis in pop music at the moment" isn't that Tricky Disco can get into the Top 20 (with a inspired video you gits!) but that decomposing 'craftsmen' like Prefab Sprout are still afforded luxuries like 'being given the benefit of the doubt'.

Do you really want such crappy conservatism in pop?

THE HINNIES are terribly, totally unfashionable without being old fashioned. If you took London as a representative map of the present pop 'scene' with Trafalgar Square as its hip epicentre, then The Hinnies would be way out the middle, somewhere near Tottenham.

They are a North Circular band. A determined, melodic splattering of harmonies and uneven guitars, shifting and stumbling through the gears like a learner driver in traffic. It's rough and punky and bluesy and things.

Roger, singer / guitarist, makes the first dent on tonight by admitting that his other job is as a lifeguard at a pool in Islington.

"It's a strange job, yeah, but it's fun. I had to pull someone out the other day... this kid was standing by the edge, slowly took his arm bands off and then took a running leap into the deep end.

But the most common occurrence is epilepsy, people having fits in the water. Which is all right if you can get to them, but if they're in deep water you can't get hold of them. One massive bloke had a fit recently and nearly drowned two lifeguards."

Now this, for Paddy MacAloon fans, is REAL LIFE! The Hinnies Save The Nation's Youth. Their first 'release', a cassette EP earlier this year which included the Pixies-ish 'Leviathon', prompted a string of gigs round London, which they'll be resuming again late September / October to coincide with the release of their debut vinyl EP - label to be confirmed - featuring the roughly invigorating 'Spongey Groove'. If anything the band (Roger, Jim: drums; Tim: guitar and Charlie: bass) are the sound of an underdog barking up the right tree.

"Someone said last night at a gig that they'd never seen a band as awful-looking as us make such good music," admits Tim. "Then he just walked off."

Will God smile on The Hinnies?

"Well, if Jesus came back today, he wouldn't be interested in Acid House clubs would he?" says Roger, "He'd probably be into music that didn't have a beginning or end, like Indian music."

So he wouldn't like Pixies?

"He might, but that's all kind of angsty and I don't think he'd be into that sort of angst. But if he came he'd have to spread his Gospel by word of mouth anyway or he'd be tanned. We've tried doing that with the group but it's not working very well. We should ask the Pope how he gets his followers."

The Hinnies: pray for today.

Steve Lamacq
Melody Maker 12 Oct 1991
"We're rubbish at being celebrities," confesses Tim Williams, guitarist with THE HINNIES. "We can't jump around open-mouthed and wear nice clothes. So we have to rely on the music."

In a fairer world, that wouldn't be a problem. In this one, it has been. The new Hinnies EP, "Too Fat For Triumph", is remarkably diverse - and the band acknowledge that releasing an EP featuring four songs that could be the work of four different bands isn't likely to provide a short cut to mass acceptance. Their insistence on doing so probably explains why they've just spent a frustrating year embroiled in business intrigues. But now, with the EP finally released, an album set to follow in the New Year, and live dates in Britain, Europe, America and what used to be the USSR on the horizon, their old-fashioned virtues and thoroughly modern guitar noises may yet reap overdue rewards.

The EP opens with the alarming "Gong", a feedback-fuelled bad dream of a song with a chorus in which singer Roger Packham is heard to murmur, "Whenever I want you / I dream that your skin is so thin that it would tear apart / And I would stop your heart."

The Hinnies - especially Roger - are like that in conversation. Hardly humourless, but certainly intense. They regard the new EP as their "real" debut, distancing themselves from the earlier "Spongey Groove", which got them accused of jumping on to the collapsing baggy bandwagon. Now, their breathy harmonies and twisted narratives are prompting comparisons with My Bloody Valentine - which Roger, surprisingly, accepts as valid.

"I think My Bloody Valentine are a big influence," he admits. "But you can listen to someone a lot, and it doesn't mean you have to rip them straight off."

Quite so - and it's certainly hard to imagine MBV conjuring up anything quite so driving as the EP's title track. It sounds remarkably coherent considering that, as Roger reveals, "Other than the chorus - 'You try so hard / It's far too fat for triumph' - it's totally improvised."

"There's a break where we just shout loads of abuse," says Tim, with relish.

"Initially," adds bassist Charlie Nos, "it was inspired by seeing some 18-stone biker on a Sixties Triumph Daytona 500. It's quite a small bike, and he was trying to look hard... it looked rubbish! Really, though, now its about getting fat in the head."

The other two tracks, the quiet but obsessive "Beautiful" and the trippy thrash mixed with meditations on mortality that is "The Grace" confirm the band's breadth of imagination. As Roger says, The Hinnies "have something to say, but we haven't got the money or the inclination to force people to listen to us."

Maybe they're too reasonable and too honest to become this year's disposable heroes; but "Too Fat For Triumph" shows that there's a lot more to The Hinnies than a silly name. It's thoughtful, provocative and - yes - a quiet triumph.

"Too Fat For Triumph" is out now on Bad Girl.
Publication and date unknown

Too slim for failure!
"Anyone who fails to find our music interesting should move to Venezuela and run naked through cocoa fields, reciting verses from Mein Kempf while absorbing the fruits of their path!"

So runs The Hinnies' philosophy, a strange but confident attitude which is transferred to vinyl this month on their second release, the 'Too Fat For Triumph' EP.

"It originally felt like we came from another planet, as our music was very focussed," says singer Robert. "But finding out what people want to hear has been worthwhile and had taken our sound in a more marketable direction."

Their latest recording is not a paean to obesity but a political indictment of greed.

"It's about a bloke who is six foot four, weighs 15 stone and who looks crap on a big bike," snarls bassist Charlie. "It's the same with BCCI and all of those government people. They all 'sit fat' and big-headed and all end up losers.

"We're not out to be cynical or bury other bands, but whether people like us or not, we still want to be appreciated," add drummer Jim. "The most important thing is that we respect ourselves."

Dean Wengrow
Grateful thanks to James Mattison for supplying these clippings.
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