Indie pop group Hippo Campus just released their debut album Landmark.
Prior to the LP coming out, the band released singles “Boyish,” “Monsoon” and “Way It Goes,” making the album highly anticipated. The mastery of these songs was a good clue to how the rest of the album would go, and boy, did it go well.
Hippo Campus hails from St. Paul, Minnesota. The four band members met at Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, where they attended high school together, and after being involved with different music groups, they finally came together under one name.
The band is made up of frontman Jake Luppen (vocals/guitar), co-frontman Nathan Stocker (guitar/vocals), Zach Sutton (bass) and Whistler Allen (drums/vocals). Their nicknames are worth noting, too: Turntan, Stitches, Espo and Beans, respectively.
After releasing EPs Bashful Creatures and South in 2015, fans have been looking forward to what was to come. Hippo Campus definitely delivered with Landmark.
The album is a mix of upbeat pop/rock sounds, as well as slower, gentler songs, all with an indie touch. With 13 songs, this longer-form release gives listeners a better taste of who Hippo Campus is — a band with catchy rhythms, laid-back melodies and intricate harmonies.
One word that comes to mind when listening to this album is “chill” — the vibes from each song scream it. Songs like “Vines,” “Tuesday” and “Vacation” are perfect examples, though each track off the album could easily be placed into this category.
Here’s a live taste of “Vines:”
This video is a good testament to those chill vibes. Their body language is very relaxed and each member seems to be lost in the music. Viewers can also see and hear those harmonies put to work.
Songs like “Western Kids,” “Butter Cup” and “Boyish” remind listeners of their older stuff. These are both more upbeat songs that are reminiscent of oldies like “Suicide Saturday” or “Little Grace.”
The rhythms in these songs are downright infectious. Their lyrics are also captivating. In “Boyish,” part of the chorus is as follows: “There’s sunlight dripping off the apricot tree / lost to the night tide growing in me / singing to the drunks like they’re mom and dad / all we ever knew is what we didn’t have.”
The lyrics give the listener imagery and emotion, but the listener also has to decide how to interpret them.
Hippo Campus’ music, from their entire collection of works, not just this album alone, is enjoyable in any context, whether that be walking to class, hanging with a close group of friends or even pregaming (for those of us fans who are really into the sound).
Landmark, though, is smooth, crisply produced and everything Hippo Campus fans could have asked for and more.