Unique five-piece indie-rock band Hippo Campus are coming to Brighton, performing on Sunday 24 February at Concorde 2.
Formed in 2013 in Minnesota they have been supplying the world with both high quality classic indie rock material and an innovative take on the genre.
They have developed they sound over their years, as man bands formed in the 00s have. Their first EP ‘Bashful Creatures’ and follow-up EP ‘South’, released on their current label Grand Jury in 2015, have the muscular but melodic air of power-rock also seen in Catfish and the Bottlemen and 1975 at that time, with songs such as ‘Suicide Saturday’ and ‘South’. Their first full-length album came in 2017 with ‘Landmark’ which offered a much more complex style with songs such as ‘epitaph’ and ‘way it goes’ highlighting their musical maturity.
Their latest album, Bambi, sounds unlike anything I have heard before. Fresh and unique, it fits into a category I have labelled ‘Urban Outfitters New Indie’: clean mellow guitar, melodies with strange sounds and effects, and often an uncommon instrument, in this case a trumpet.
The album opens with a melancholic, part-orchestral, part-electronic sound-piece that would fi into a psychological sci-fi thriller. This is succeeded with ‘Anxious’, a power ballad that is simultaneously stripped back and rich. The sounds used in ‘Doubt’ are unique and give the song the element of surprise when it comes on and has an ending similar to that of Vulfpeck which is unsurprising seeing as Cory Wong, guitarist for Vulfpeck, plays on this album. We then get to the lead single of the album, ‘Bambi’, and you can see why this was chosen to be lead single. It is mellow and uplifting while also being quite a melancholic. The the sounds used at the start and throughout are ear-grabbing, the rhythm of it all together keep you one your toes yet comfortable. The clean guitar and singing style allows it to go into my ‘new indie’ category. They haven’t abandoned their 2014 sound entirely; ‘Why Even Try’ retains this vibe while still remaining relevant today’s scene.
Since the release of ‘Bambi’, Hippo Campus have performed for multiple online music channels and radio stations including Paste Studios and KEXP, giving stripped back versions of their songs that are equally beautiful in different ways.