Bambi by Hippo Campus
Recommended if you like Remo Drive, Night Riots, COIN, Vinyl Theater
FCC: 3, 4, 7
Overall a slower, more mature album for this indie rock band from St. Paul, MN. Their newest member has no doubt added some unique qualities to the original foursome, because the sound has changed drastically on some of the tracks. When I started listening to the album it was apparent that they’d taken a turn from their usual upbeat alt-pop, that teens all over the country can’t seem to get enough of, from the very first track. “Mistakes” is a very slow build the is reminiscent of a Fleet Foxes tune. Then they take a turn further away from their previous sound with “Anxious”, a song that at first, I hated, but then decided was one of my favorites. It just starts off annoying okay, I didn’t like the sound of it at first, but then I realized that they were trying to bring the feeling of being anxious into the song without being too obnoxious about it, and on that front, they achieved their goal. “Doubt” takes a turn for the worst, the weird burpy keyboard sounds sound more cacophonous than edgy, and they take away from the song rather than add an unexpected element. The song switches between hazy love song bits, back to the jerky electronic band practice that no one came to, because they’d rather do their homework or take out the trash. Fortunately, the next song takes those jerky keyboard pieces and works them successfully into the title track, “Bambi”, which is one of the best on the album. The lyrics on this album, as on their previous two, are far beyond what you’d normally expect from young adults that have barely lived at all yet. These boys know how to write, and whatever else went array with this album, the words remain self-evident truisms that even the great Jenny Holzer would be proud to acknowledge I’m sure.
The rest of the album is pretty standard, there are some slower songs to pull out that emo inside all of us, but without the straight up tears that we all cried when we heard “Monsoon” the first thirty times. Those slower songs would include: “Why Even Try”, “Think it Over”, and “Passenger”. Then there are the more upbeat alt-pop jams that we all expected from Hippo; the ones that make you want to dance, and entice you to another one of their live shows. Those would include: “Bubbles”, “Golden”, and “Honestly”. These songs aren’t the only thing that should get you to one of their shows though, these guys are incredibly talented performers. Their show in Des Moines last year, was one of my favorite concerts that I’ve ever been to, and I can’t wait to repeat the magic.
They aren’t playing Des Moines this year, as they’re too big now, but they will be in St. Paul in November at the Palace Theatre.