|2022||LP3||Hippo Campus||★★||41||Pop||Indie Pop|
Hippo Campus is a band that’s never quite known what they wanted to be, while at the same time always being the same thing.
Their debut EPs and singles all featured cutesy, upbeat (and often offbeat) indie rock tracks, with syncopated, bubbly guitar riffs and summertime vibes. Their first full-length record ditched some of the more intricate elements of their instrumentation, instead going with a more straight, flat sound. But still, they had their bubbly charm. Bambi then followed that up, introducing more atmospheric and electronic elements that felt tacked on and muddied the indie rock vibe.
Now on LP3, most of those rock roots and elements I was originally drawn to have been stripped away entirely for synthetic production, processed vocals and radio-bait pop structures. They’ve always been indie pop, but now feel more like a Vampire Weekend or Glass Animals knock-off band than something original.
There are some good songs on LP3, with the opening two tracks bringing some energy, and the band sprinkling in some rumbling, choppy, distortion that’s kind of interesting. The album’s single, “Ride or Die,” definitely wears its Vampire Weekend influences on its sleeve, but is a fun, warm song nonetheless.
Other than that though, LP3 is a collection of songs that are so blatantly poppy and vanilla, that it’s hard to get much of anything out of them. It sounds fine and happy most of the time, and is hardly offensive or grating at all, but a lot of songs fail to impress in any meaningful way. We’ve heard it before, and we’ve heard other bands (including Hippo Campus) do it better over the previous decade.