It’s easy enough to evoke nostalgia through music. Music, after all, is primarily an auditory medium, which means it can hit you more immediately than a book or a movie: consider how a five-second snippet of a song from your childhood can bring you back to the backseat of your mom’s car on your way home from school. And there is no shortage of signifiers that can suggest a certain time or place, whether it’s a part of the music itself or the imagery surrounding it (vaporwave, for instance, uses the sounds and imagery of the 80s for its own purposes.) But if it’s not done right, that sort of thing can feel cheap, a “hey, remember this?” that elicits quick recognition and little else.
It’s harder to evoke feelings of nostalgia without ever pointing to a specific time and place, and that’s exactly what Sunflower Thieves has achieved with “Don’t Mind The Weather.” The Leeds-based duo specializes in dreamy, ambient-inflected folk-pop with gorgeous harmonies, like a sun-dappled version of Grouper’s airy lullabies. It brings to mind peaceful summer afternoons and feelings of safety and security, but it never gilds the nostalgic lily. The quiet beauty of its sentiment is enough.
“Don’t Mind The Weather” is similar to their previous song, the lovely “Hide and Seek,” but it goes about its job in a different way. “Hide and Seek” used its central metaphor to suggest security through the innocence of childhood, but “Don’t Mind The Weather” suggests that those feelings aren’t something you have to grow out of. According to the press release, the song’s message is “don’t worry, this is where you’re grounded and safe,” and you can hear that sense of stability in the recurring motif of the moon and the tides. The lilting chorus tells us that the moon will bring the narrator to her loved one, and then that “the tides will carry us through.” It’s a comforting symbol of everything being in its right place: benevolent cosmic forces will gently guide you to happiness.
“Don’t Mind The Weather,” like the best pieces of nostalgia, evokes not a time or a place but a feeling: late summer warmth on your skin, Celtic new age heard from another room, a soothing breeze ruffling your hair. Even better, it’s not aiming for escapism; the beauty and peace the song promises is not out of your reach. ”Don’t Mind The Weather” is a reminder that those things you long for are still with you, so long as you’re willing to let yourself get carried away by something greater than yourself.