“Bambi” Hippo Campus
By: Kelsey Bolander
Hippo Campus’ sophomore album, “Bambi,” demonstrates their uncanny ability to parallel the growth and experience of their coetaneous audience. Where the band’s debut album, “Landmark,” succeeded in its vibrant optimism, “Bambi” reconciles success and uncertainty in an exploration of the quartet’s emotional growth. It’s punctuated throughout by staccato synths that act as the firing synapses of the album’s emotionally intelligent brain.
“Bambi” begins with “Mistakes,” an otherworldly track of layered vocals that deals with the reckoning of one’s capabilities with others’ expectations, and leads into “Anxious” with the swell of horns. Both “Anxious” and “Doubt” contend with frustration; the former is a look into the burden of anxiety upon contemplation and social interaction. The latter attempts to resolve the sunny infatuation of a new relationship with the doubts that accompany it. The title track, “Bambi,” is a dreamy groove; its upbeat nature stems from an encouraging drive towards positive mental health practices and social consciousness.
“Why Even Try” is a fuzzy, distant track that works as a sonic whisper, with lead singer Jake Luppen singing, “I will miss your voice in my ear.” While most of the album maintains steady hooks, “Bubbles” devolves from that steadiness into wonderful, chaotic percussion. Final track “Passenger” is a gentle yet desperate reach for sentimentalism that ties the album together.
“Bambi” is an impressive move away from the “let me entertain you” qualities of earlier albums, and becomes a testament of self-reflection and finding comfort in the humanity of emotions.