By Taylor Linzinmeir, Contributor
[Grand Jury; 2018]
Key Tracks: “Doubt”, “Bubbles”, “Golden”
Hippo Campus’s latest album, Bambi, ushers in a new era for the Minnesota indie-rock band. Their goal was to create an album as separate individuals under the name Hippo Campus, instead of just simply making another Hippo Campus record, and they certainly succeeded. Listeners can hear the members of the band growing and maturing not only personally, but artistically as well. Their experimentation with electronic beats mixed with their traditional indie-style bass lines and percussion intertwine beautifully throughout the album. The band created an uplifting soundtrack for listeners with a strong focus on the idea of the “moment,” or dealing with everyday problems and the emotions of the ever-changing present.
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The album opens with the track “Mistakes”, immediately introducing listeners to the band’s new electronic vibe. The song features meditative instrumentals and soft vocals to entrance listeners while warning them of the sinful temptation of their love. Picking up the pace a bit, “Doubt” is a bright song with a more pop-like sound based on a keyboard. The song asks the age-old question of what true love is and how one is supposed to know when they feel it. This theme of softening heavy concepts with bright, computerized beats is carried throughout many of the songs on the album.
Slowing things down, the album introduces the songs “Why Even Try” and “Bubbles”. “Why Even Try” takes a break from the heavy computerization and mellows things with delicate guitar, piano and vocals as the lyrics question what the point is of trying to change or fix events that occurred in the past. “Bubbles” acts as a response to “Why Even Try”, setting itself apart by building to a chaotic guitar riff a little over a minute in. The song deals with repairing friendships because of the history of the relationship, despite the problems of the present.
Feeling a little reminiscent of previous Hippo Campus records is “Golden”, the last single to be released in anticipation of the album. “Golden” discusses the struggles of long-distance relationships and has an instantly contagious beat driven by percussion.
Bambi is one of the rare albums that can be listened to from beginning to end without having to skip a single track. By Hippo Campus untying themselves from their traditional instruments, each song on the album has the unique ability to keep listeners interested, while still molding together beautifully with smooth transitions between songs. Clearly, Hippo Campus took great care in crafting each and every beautiful track on Bambi.