“Another hit from the Minnesota Wonder Group” is how I wanted to start this off, but that would be too bias, even for me. Discovering relative fame at a young age, while still at the St. Paul Conservatory for Music, they took it in strides, working on another EP, and soon a full album in 2017 to tour on as what must have felt like a real band. Based around Jake Luppen on vocals, Nathan Stucker on Guitar and vocals, Zach Sutton on Bass, and Whistler Allen on Drums, the band picked up DeCarlo Jackson during the recording of Landmark and later touring, with him now an official part of the group. I have reviewed this album, only in part, in April. Landmark was with not a doubt in my top ten albums of 2017, and a lot of the media agreed. When the songs off this album hit my local radio, I had that feeling one gets a handful of times in his life.
Together but apart. Clean yet messy. These themes run throughout Hippo Campus’ latest work. Bambi doesn’t try to be too much, just exactly what it needs to be, and there is nothing wrong with that. The opening is slow, calm, and quiet like “Sun Spots” on Landmark. In structure, this album nearly mirrors their last work, fun, pop-ish three tracks starting it off. I lean on “Anxious” to be my stand out song that doesn’t fail to set a mood. This one stands out for it’s open attitude and blunt lyrics.
Next, two slow, slushy lounge songs straddling the A and B side divide. “Why Even Try” includes this loop at the end of the track where the A side ends that feels like an invitation to listen more, contrary to the loop at the end of Twin Fantasy that leaves you in this daze. More stuck. There you have no more to listen to. Hewe you have more. This is where “Think It Over” takes over, introducing you to the second half of the album.
“Honestly” takes my favorite instrumentals place with the back-and-forth we hear at the beginning. I enjoy the way the drums take precedence on this track, while Luppen carries the drums at times like pushing someone on a swing set.
At the beginning, I was off put by the slower, calmer direction “Passenger” took when it first was released back in June. Now, with the context of the rest of the album, I see how it fits, and I would agree it is a really beautiful song. The way it fluxuates between epic anthem and experimental rock, and back down to earth is spectacular
This whole album is drenched in pastel pink, clean lines, and a battle between the abstract and the clinical. The art itself deserves being held in the hand to fully appreciate it. You don’t see until you are up close what the cover really is, a painting. From a layout standpoint, I absolutely love the text style. Clean when it needs to be out of the way, but eccentric and bodacious when it needs to be seen.
Color vinyl is back! I could have gone for the two other colors offered, the harder to come on, but this pastel, smoky pink is the perfect look for this album. My only complaint is they couldn’t fill two LP’s.