Spring Break- those last two weeks in March when students from unis all across the U.S. flood to beachside resorts en mass to drink, party, get sunburnt, and generally do whatever they can to let off steam. When it’s all over, students retreat, hotels are less crowded, flight prices drop, and seaside towns return to their sleepy rhythms. This Post-Spring Break period becomes the prime time to visit places like Florida, when the weather is not too hot and the beaches are not too busy.
Four days into my holiday here, I already have a routine going: get up, eat a bowl of Captain Crunch, put on a swimming costume, sunbathe, listen to music. Today, given the sunshine, the bouncy melodies of Hind’s latest album, I Don’t Run, seemed like an appropriate choice. The madrileñas have a playful spirit, and whilst their new release reveals a funnier, sharper, and more intricate version of themselves, it’s clear that the band is still holding onto the plucky energy that we love.
Aside from the noise of ‘The Club’ playing through my phone and me singing the lyrics at a nearby pelican, it’s quiet outside. The rest of the house isn’t up yet, and I’m sat outside on my own. When ‘Linda’ starts playing, I feel a smile creep across my face. The song is quieter than the others that proceed it and is peppered with soft guitar rifts and lightly spoken lyrics that seem perfect for this setting.
By the time that ‘Tester’ is finished, my family is awake and we have decided to buy some from food for lunch. I take my headphones with me so I can keep listening on our drive through town.
Suburban Florida is, admittedly, a strange place. Whilst it is all the things it claims to be on the postcards- white sandy beaches, sunshine, jet skis, palm trees- it also holds a lot of surprises for unsuspecting holiday makers. With all its country music, alligator hunting, and 1970s-inspired interior decor, central Florida is a lot less sleek than it makes out to be. Roadsides are splattered with billboards advertising cars, sunscreen, guns, and the lottery, roads are filled with Chevy trucks twice the size of the average car in England, and everywhere AC units pump out excessively cold air to fight off the humidity outside.
And yet, for all its tackiness, Florida has its own charm. Though it might be off-putting at first, after a time its uncoolness almost seems cool, and its bright, loud exterior becomes the very thing that makes it so endearing. Perhaps this was why listening to Hinds felt so apt on the way to the supermarket. During songs like ‘Finally Floating’ and ‘To The Morning Light’, the interplay between the songs’ soft and raucous sounds achieves the same blend of sweet and sour that best characterises the nature of Florida’s seaside towns.
Lead singers Ana and Carlota may often deliver the same lyrics and finish each other’s sentences, but they almost always do so in contrasting ways. Whilst the former prefers soft, smooth vocals, the latter often seems to be singing with clenched fists, almost shouting her words through the microphone.
Back at the house, the food has been unloaded into the fridge and everyone is watching a film in the living room whilst I head upstairs. In true Floridian fashion, the sunny day has turned into a storm, and sunbathing is no longer an option. I choose to listen to ‘Ma Nuit’ again, a lo-fi tune about the band’s struggles with keeping up long-distance relationships whilst on the road. The song’s darker tone helps to amplify the mood created by the storm outside, and I let it play on repeat as I sit and watch from behind the balcony window. The moment feels bittersweet.
Just as the lyrics, the melodies in Hinds’ music are filled with contrasts and contradictions that compliment one another when placed side by side (at times even within the same line), the storm that has ruined today’s plans somehow doesn’t seem so bad when accompanied by music, and even makes the listening experience more enjoyable. Once again, Hinds remind me that feeling conflicted is not always a bad thing, and that often the good is better when taken with the bad.