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A strange thing happens when freshwater and saltwater rub up against each other. In the ocean, when left undisturbed, the two kinds of water will separate into strata that are all but indiscernible from above or below—and when a deep-sea diver is swimming upwards, thinking they’re just about to come up for air, they’ll actually hit another layer of clearer, fresher water that separates them from the atmosphere. It’s a beguiling effect that scientists call the halocline.
For the band Hippo Campus, the idea of the halocline has taken on a profound meaning. Having just graduated high school in 2013, the four members of the band teeter in that precarious place between being a kid and being a fully independent adult; though they have been kicking their legs as hard as they can to rise above murky waters of adolescent angst, a whole new echelon of complications lingers just overhead.