Album Review: Hippo Campus - 'LP3'

Hippo Campus are no less than a staple of the indie party playlist. Known for their sparkly guitar riffs, catchy choruses and uplifting message, the Minnesota five piece have developed an impressive following since their first major label release in 2015. In 2022, Hippo Campus bring fans their third full length project, 'LP3'. The Mic's Millie Hopcott offers her scoop.

I was lucky enough to listen to Hippo Campus' new album, 'LP3', before its release on the 4th of February 2022. With a simple yet effective title, 'LP3' showcases the catchy indie-rock music from the American band.

On the face of it, not releasing an album since 2018 seems like a long time, but when you look at the number of EPs and demos they have released during this time, you can start to understand why it has taken them so long. The Hippo Campus boys have blessed fans with nearly an hours' worth of demo tracks, an EP, and three singles from their upcoming album, all whilst touring extensively for two years, navigating the pandemic, AND recording their third album. Pretty impressive if you ask me!

"These kinds of chaotic sounds are present in some of Hippo Campus' previous releases (See Mojo Jojo), but this track seemed different from their norm"

I was incredibly excited to listen to the new album, yet when I listened to the first song, 2 Young 2 Die, it was not what I had expected. Unlike most other songs, the opening track is busy with distorted and crashing sounds, almost psychedelic but with heavy and electronic beats. These kinds of chaotic sounds are present in some of Hippo Campus' previous releases (See Mojo Jojo), but this track seemed different from their norm, which made me slightly worried about the familiar Hippo Campus sound that I had always loved was going to change. However, as I listened to more of the album, I found that their usual melodic and sweet sounds were not far away. LP3 is the culmination of the gradual development of the band's sounds since their first releases way back in 2015. The sounds of this album seem to have been hinted at by their most recent EP Good Dog, Bad Dream (2021) so, if you are a fan of that, you are in luck!

What struck me most whilst listening to the album was the sheer honesty of the lyrics. There is great vulnerability throughout the album, especially in songs such as Blew Its, which shares the feeling that you better hope 'the gun is loaded' because there's no way of coming back from the number of times you blew it and messed up in life. Ashtray is another painfully honest song where frontman Jake Luppen sings that he feels he is in a trance and never actually present in life, finding it so hard to be alone.

Another big part of the album's honesty and vulnerability is the number of songs that reflect on sexuality and being honest about who you are and how you really feel. For the first time in Hippo Campus' discography, they speak directly about being queer and not fitting into normalised gender binaries. Boys, one of the three singles already released from the album, talks about the dizzy feeling of a hangover and the blurry memories from nights before where Jake sings about kissing boys and not turning up for work. The disorientated feel of the song makes it a very catchy number. The accompanying music video filmed by drummer, Whistler Allen, emphasises the song's emotion of living life in a blurry haze. Songs Semi-Pro and Understand also include metaphors about being bisexual or queer in some way, such as 'playing for both teams'. This is amazing for Jake to be able to speak openly about his sexuality through the music, and I think it will be beneficial for LGBTQIA+ fans of Hippo Campus to hear it too.

In the band's typical melancholy song style, the album features sweet-sounding music to sometimes deeply sad lyrics. Listerine, my favourite song off the album, is the perfect embodiment of this, as Jake sings to an upbeat rhythm about being hurt by a partner and feeling like he's being made to feel inadequate. This is a combination which Hippo Campus seem to be pros at!

LP3 is one of my favourite records by Hippo Campus, and I know their fans will love it too. It covers experiences that many people can relate to - a journey of personal discovery, growth, heartbreak, and romance. The candour of the album truly makes it an exciting listen, and I cannot wait for Hippo Campus to come to Nottingham so we can hear it live.

Millie Hopcott


Edited by: Elliot Fox

In article images courtesy of Hippo Campus via Facebook. Video Courtesy of Hippo Campus via YouTube.