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Hometown Vibing with Hippo Campus' Landmark

By Maria Carrasco | 8/3/17 3:40pm
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Hippo Campus reminds me of the dudes you went to high school with that were best friends and decided to start a band one day, creating funky, lo-fi music. Well at least for me, Hippo Campus are the type of dudes I wish I went to school with.

They’re a real hometown blend of St. Paul locals who create warm, sing-song-y music. Their latest album Landmark released Feb. 24 and it’s all I’ve been listening to the past week. Their past two EPs, South and Bashful Creatures are punchy, lively too, and worth the listen.

Even looking at their Landmark album cover, it’s so reminiscent of what my place looks like, of what a home looks like. The theme is imminent, with the album cover and music going hand in hand.

The album is filled with fun, guitar melodies that could make me dance in the middle of the silent floor of Bender Library. But my favorite off the album is heart-wrenching song called “Monsoon.”

The song was dedicated to guitarist Nathan “Stitches” Stocker’s older sister who died when he was 14. And the song title gives it up - the song is a monsoon of emotions. You’re overwhelmed, uncomfortable even, and it’s like you’re going through a wave of grief with the band.

“Unlike a sky copious with death / Precipitation of heart and head / Should wash the rest of her youth away / And carry on with it as she may / But something's pending curvaceously / 'Cuz sunburned skin won't agree with me.”

The song ends with a repeating “It should’ve been me,” to symbolize the feeling anyone has dealing with grief from death - it should’ve been me.

Few songs really get to me like “Monsoon” does. You know, those songs that make you feel everything, all at once. The closest song that reminds me of this is Vampire Weekend’s “Hannah Hunt.” And for that, this song is the best off the album.

But the album for the most part is lively, vibrant and colorful. Take the song “Buttercup.” It’s energetic, loud, noisey and unhinged. The drum leadup to the bridge at 2:38 makes you want to sing-along at the top of your lungs.

“Growing pains splaying rain on the high sea / Scale a tree, snap a branch so you can't leave / On the ground, lost and found, understand me / Putting words in my mouth, trying to get free”

The song “Tuesday” is funky and smooth, with the intro being a cheerful, peppy guitar melodies that transitions smoothly into lead singer Jake Luppen’s vocals. The song is about being disillusioned by alcohol in a bad relationship, but not in a sad way.

“My friends say we are the lucky ones / In terms of our relationship / Alcoholic tendencies underneath our fingertips / I think I love you / I think I know you / Or is it only liquor speak?”

Now as someone who grew up in Chicago for most of her life, and for some time in Lawrence, Kansas, I love the song “Western Kids.” It’s a real dig into east and west coast kids, but more than that, it’s a real appreciation of the midwest, especially to their city of St. Paul. It’s their hometown glory.

“The midwestern plains recall / Firearms and alcohol / The proxy-server kind of men / The socialites they're brooding hens / The silhouettes they play the part / Their east coast digs are works of art / But the sickness sleeps inside our bones / With solipsistic overtones.”

While I could go on, I’ll keep it at that. This album is great, energetic and lively, something to make the dull February weather sunny or, as in D.C., an album to enjoy with the sunny weather. 

Take a listen to the full album here:

RIYL: Vampire Weekend, CRUISR, JR JR, COIN

Recommended: 1 + 2 together, 5, 6, 7, 11, 13