Hippo Campus has released their second full-length album, Bambi. With sounds that recall Bon Iver, Rostam, and The 1975, Bambi delves into darker topics than previous works with a self-reflective and mature attitude.
Hippo Campus is Jake Luppen and Nathan Stocker both on guitar/vocals, Zach Sutton on bass, Whistler Allen on drums, and DeCarlo Jackson on trumpet. The group formed in 2013 when all five members were attending the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. In 2015, Hippo Campus re-released their first EP, Bashful Creatures, and released their second EP, South. With an appearance on CBS’s This Morning, Hippo Campus started gaining national recognition. In 2017, their first full-length album, Landmark, became internationally available. The group toured the album internationally the following year. Over the past five years, Hippo Campus has been consistently growing in recognition and ability to make both driving, upbeat indie pop music and calm placid music with sounds that linger and float into the listener’s ears.
Bambi has two singles, “Passenger” and “Bambi.” From a simple ambient beat track, “Passenger” builds into a full-bodied and dramatic song that needs to be listened to while on a nighttime drive to fully appreciate. The song starts with a subdued beat and Jake singing. During the first verse, piano chords sneak out of the ether. In the second verse, Nathan comes in and harmonizes with Jake, giving a soft and delicate sound. The song slowly builds with a cinematic drum beat, subdued brass lines, and spacey guitar interplaying with one another, causing layers of sound that come in like crashing waves.
The title track, “Bambi,” comes in with a smooth vibe and catchy interlude that gives the music a nostalgic dream-like sound. During the bridge, DeCarlo comes in with beautiful brass lines that adds to the dreamlike sound of the track. The music video for the track places the members of the band in a world of isolation with, often lighthearted, reality-bending occurrences.
Hippo Campus’s sophomore album is a diverse and introspective album that is able to portray the emotional state a person might feel when dealing with serious topics like isolation and conflict, while still having a light and delicate sound. If you are a person that actively looks for music to add to your late-night-drive playlist, this album will have quite a few songs for you. Hippo Campus effectively employs brass, slide guitar, and breathy sounds that support and add to the raw emotions in the lyrics.
Hippo Campus will be performing at Madison Theater Wednesday, October 10 at 8 pm, as part of the opening leg of their Bambi Tour with The Districts. Tickets are $20 online and $22 at the door. Doors will open at 7 pm.
For fans of: Ra Ra Riot, Rostam, introspection
Our take: Diverse use of soft sounds, ethereal vocals, and calm harmonies. Introspective and emotional lyrics.
When: Wednesday, 10/10, 8pm, doors open at 7pm
Where: Madison Theater
How much: Door price $22, online price $20