Hints- No Regrets in Old English

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sometimes all it takes is that first verse to hook you on a band’s sound. This is exactly what happened with Hints’ new EP No Regrets in Old English, who channel elements of new wave and 80s UK pop but emphasize sweeping guitar melodies instead of the usual synthesizer. Formed at the end of 2011, this group has released three two song EP’s previously and based on the five songs on this latest effort it’s clear that they’ve spent quite a bit of time fine tuning their ideas as they sound like a seasoned act capable of delivering one hook after another.

What makes Hints so engaging is their ability to jump around the spectrum of dreary and cheerful pop tunes without ever following the path of one particular band too closely. One moment they’re able to hook with the type of laid back melodies that have a hint of darkness and sorrow that made so many of the UK acts resonate with listeners years ago, while the next the guitars completely explode outward in a burst of bright textures. Each of the five songs handles these transitions in a different manner, which makes them all grab you with different hooks. No Regrets in Old English is one of those releases that’s capable of engaging from start to finish, as none of the twenty one minutes has been wasted and Hints has found the perfect length for each of their ideas that keeps them from overstaying their welcome. I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of groups that go for this same type of guitar driven indie pop/rock tend to have a slightly looser feel to them, almost feeling like the melodies might be on the verge of collapsing on themselves, but all of the arrangements here are tightly constructed and have a sense of precision that makes these guys seem like they’ve been around for much longer than just a handful of years.

Singer Garrett Morin has a softer pitch that hovers over the instrumentals with an airier feel, but there’s a considerable amount of energy behind the performance that commands the listener’s attention as they make their way through the EP. As the guitars head towards sweeping climaxes Morin’s vocals follow suit, reaching much fuller pitches that help to make the choruses absolutely stunning. It’s certainly a familiar style that is likely to remind you of a whole slew of other classic artists from this genre, but Hints does it in a convincing fashion. I also like that the way No Regrets in Old English was recorded emphasizes the singing rather than burying it underneath the shimmering guitar leads, as it allows them to fully expand and reach their full potential rather than simply acting as window dressing for the instrumentals.

This is the type of EP where you’ll want to immediately give it another listen after the first go, as Hints has hooks that get under your skin and get stuck in your head quickly. The interplay between the moodier, dreary melodies and brighter ones makes Hints a bit more versatile than some of the other indie pop/rock bands I’ve come across in recent memory, and there’s a tightness and precision to their songs that helps them to really stand out. No Regrets in Old English comes highly recommended, and I’ll be interested to see what stylistic elements the group chooses to expand upon as they move forward.


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