Ronald Reagan, Lady Thatcher, and the looming shadow of thermonuclear war may be well behind us, but shimmering, bedroom-poster guitar pop is forever. Hints’ music is the sound of sun-kissed Americans from Texas, Georgia, California, and Massachusetts raised on the soggy greys of ‘80s UK.
We can't blame anyone for hearing touches of Moz or Roddy Frame in singer Garrett Morin's swooping, plaintive vocals, or The Church’s shimmer in the twin guitar chime, courtesy of lead guitarist Collin Lewis and Morin. The bass and drums have staggered over from the dingier, soot-streaked side of town, with bassist Wyeth Hansen and drummer J. Ellis switching from a hooligan stomp to nimble acrobatics with an auto mechanic's greasy precision.
Hints began in late 2011, after Garrett and Collin began playing together casually, sketching out the bones of songs that would come to make up Vol I and Vol II. Garrett's art school comrade Wyeth joined in on bass, and J. cemented his position on drums at the beginning of 2014.
The distinct graphic appeal of the Hints releases come from the four members' lives as active visual artists. Their graphic sensibilities are reflected in the composition of the songs, where odd-shaped ideas and contrasting elements are arranged painstakingly to feel like natural pop songs. And sticky pop songs are the goal.
Hints’ latest, No Regrets in Old English (Out on …) is the band’s crispest, most ambitious collection of songs to date. The five-track EP hums with energy, like an adrenalized meditation on a youth spent in New England and an elegy to the ones who fell by the wayside. The EP is the result of lively recording sessions with Ayad Al Adhamy (of Team Spirit, Passion Pit) and the mixing board finesse of Andrew Maury (RAC, Ra Ra Riot, Kisses, Panama wedding), who also guided the previous Hints releases Vol I, Vol II, Vol III and the one-off 'All At Once.'