Boston, Massachusetts—Hippo Campus adding a trumpet player to the already talented quartet has to be one of the most beneficial decisions the band has ever made.
The band stopped in at the House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday October 27th debuting their new LP, “Bambi.”
DeCarlo Jackson (trumpet) was the shining light of the
evening, bouncing between percussion, bass and his usual trumpet as Zac Sutton (bassist) took his talents to the keys for an emotional performance of “Monsoon.” Jackson’s licks throughout the night took the band’s already great sound to a whole other level.
Unforgettable, one might say.
The original four members, Jake Luppen (vocals, rhythm guitar), Whistler Allen (percussion, vocals), Zac Sutton (bass, vocals, keys) and Nathan Stocker (lead guitar, vocals) have certainly transformed their “kinda pop sound” over the course of the past few years since their first EP “Bashful Creatures” in 2015. Producer BJ Burton, who has also extensively worked with the likes of Bon Iver. Iver’s album “22, A Million” and Hippo Campus’s debut LP “Landmark” from 2017, encouraged the band to explore new sounds and to “create with whatever spoke to [them] in the moment.”
Burton posed the five young men a question, “Do you guys want to make another Hippo Campus record, or do you want to be able to explore what four individuals under the name of Hippo Campus can create?”
That creative freedom certainly paid off.
The LP, titled “Bambi” released in September of 2018 included the three singles previously released in the summer of 2018, “Bambi,” “Passenger” and “Golden” along with seven other tracks. They deemed their album introspective. And it is. These five dudes opened up and created an album addressing everything from toxic masculinity, to anxiety and depression, and they did it in the best way possible.
The title track “Bambi” seems to express the new sound and honest writing Hippo Campus wanted to achieve with the new album. The evident lyric, that is repeated twice in the chorus “Serving Myself” tells the story of Luppen’s battles with mental illness and the effects it has had on his productivity and his relationships. In a recent interview discussing the album with Medium, Luppen touched on the introspective lyrics in the album saying, “In the past we might have been apprehensive about being super-vulnerable, but now we’re more aware of how important it is to come forward about dealing with depression or anxiety.”
They just leave it all out there, that’s what I and everyone else loves most about them. The honesty and vulnerability in not only their songs but also their presentation is unlike any other band I’ve seen. They’re a bunch of goofball kids who love to have fun, and that’s so evident in their shows. They don’t have to say much--their music does the talking.
As far as their new sound goes, the band isn’t worried at all. Luppen said in an interview with Billboard discussing the new album’s sound, “It’s never really been about the sound, it’s always been about great songs. And that’s why I think people will understand this record. Because yes, we are experimenting sonically with what we’re doing, but I think the integrity of the songs remains.” The increased use of synth and creative freedom certainly did not stop the album from being kick-ass.
Regardless of the new album, one can still expect to see Hippo Campus favorites like, “Suicide Saturday” and “South” at their concerts and “Violet” will forever and always be the encore that brings the night full circle.