Minnesota quartet Hippo Campus made their entrance into the UK music scene when they joined Little Comets on tour last year. With two EPs under their belt (South and Bashful Creatures), the band left quite an impression on the UK crowds.
While their EPs, which were released in 2014-2015, were very much in the tropical style of Little Comets or Vampire Weekend, their 2017 debut album Landmark sees them head in a slightly different, yet more mature direction. Much of the record deals with critique of social media.
Hippo Campus – Way It Goes
BJ Burton’s production (whose most notable work was done for Bon Iver) is prominently heard on the intro Sun Veins, that transitions straight into current single Way It Goes. Standout track Epitaph makes use of autotune as vocalist Jake Luppen nonchalantly croons lyrics sich as “I need nothing more than my problems, just let me know when you’ve found them.”
Their tropical still shines through though on tracks such as Vines or Western Kids where the comparison to their peers is most evident. The guitar pattern on Simple Reason is reminiscent of Sundara Karma’s Happy Family, albeit with less flamboyancy.
Hippo Campus – Boyish
Boyish is by far Landmark’s most upbeat track. This may come as a slight disappointment for fans of their earlier material but Landmark’s solemner sound is exciting in its own right. Poems, for instance, starts out as a ballad but evolved into something else entirely. It’s undoubtedly one of the album’s excelling moments. So is Monsoon on which Luppen ponders the death of a family member.
Landmark is a stunning debut with elaborate lyrics and neatly structured melodies. With each member just old enough to drink in the US, Landmark sees Hippo Campus come of age in a world whitewashed by instagram filters.
Landmark is out on February 24th via Transgressive (US) / [PIAS] (UK/EU).
Hippo Campus are currently touring the US before returning to the UK and Europe later this year. Dates can be found below.