Landmark Album Review
Grand Jury Music
Released February 24, 2017
Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Minnesota quartet Hippo Campus have been sneakily lingering on the underground music scene, with only a handful of singles and EPs to carry their name for as long as it has. The band makes bouncy and shamelessly derivative indie rock for the Onitsuka/beanie/argyle indie-rock crowd. You can honestly get this band mixed up with the plethora of up-and-coming acts opening for indie titans worldwide, and no one would be enraged. They are, without a doubt, a by-the-books indie rock band. However, this debut offers sweet, catchy, and breezy tracks that you should, at least, dip your toe into.
The presumptive song of the summer “Way It Goes” is a breezy and jubilant affair, and one that begins this album on a buoyant note. Lead vocalist Jake Luppen’s strange vocal approach and the bright, bouncy chords are sure to make one smile; it’s hard to have negative dispositions when listening to this song, honestly. “Vines” is a smooth jam, complete with electronic keys hiding in the back, and highlights the clean production. The horns on “Boyish” highlight the bombastic energy these guys can conjure, and is a standout. Hippo Campus can craft a by-the-books indie rock song, and add some startling country and electronic flair to add some small variety. However, the variety is just that: small.
However, the band are too middle-of-the-road to go beyond niche tracks that rely on catchy hooks, memorable riffs, and the “by chance” bell or whistle. “Simple Season” sounds like a parody of a stereotypical indie song; and “Interlude” is rather unnecessary for it comes near the end and does nothing to thematically add anything to the album.
There are a few tracks here that shine, but Hippo Campus remain relatively nondescript – stuck in the same formula track after track after track.
FAV TRACKS: Way It Goes, Vines, Boyish, Buttercup
LEAST FAV TRACK: Simple Season