Summer ends with a warm glow: Hippo Campus releases surprise EP

By: Logan Peterson

petersonlo@mnstate.edu

“Some cordial framework of a sunset / A yellow made out of gray…”

Bittersweet “baseball” opens Hippo Campus’ new EP “warm glow” with a reflection on a summer romance. It’s the story of the season as a fickle mistress—dying too fast and making its return too slow. The Minnesota-based indie band tugs at our heartstrings, a cold reminder of the weather to come.

The whiplash of the vocals, beat and guitar—from an untouchable sprint to a slow draw—has become a staple of Hippo Campus’ style. Bass is prominent in the mix, keeping the rapidly changing pace grounded. Zach Sutton’s groovy basslines are a defining feature of the track.

Before you can get a grip, “baseball” transitions into the second track, “traveler.” After a starting gunshot of a single drum hit, the guitar races in with perfect tones. On top of the quick guitar, Jacob Luppen’s vocals gracefully draw out across the track. He pronounces every syllable, making us consider every word. My only complaint is that his strange pronunciations, though musically fitting, make it hard to understand their lyrics.

The “warm glow” EP’s release comes only seven months after their first full-length album, “Landmark”. Previous EPs “Bashful Creatures” and “South” laid the foundation for their mysterious and poppy sound, but “Landmark” is their vision realized.

Similarities between “Landmark” and “warm glow” shouldn’t surprise listeners, as this EP is almost an extension of their first album.

In an interview with BroadwayWorld.com, vocalist and guitarist Nathan Stocker said, “There were many blueprints (demos on demos) for ‘baseball,’ having gone through a rigorous audition process for ‘Landmark,’ and ‘warm glow’ was, at one time, going to be the closing track of the album.”

“Landmark” ends with one of my favorites: “Buttercup.” It brings the complicated ride to a dancing, singing, swinging good time of a close—but it’s not hard to imagine the slower, more reflective “warm glow” as a bookend for their debut album.

The final track is much calmer than its siblings. A hypnotic beat draws listeners in, while a soft finger-picked guitar lulls them to sleep. That is, until everything changes. Everything stops, and Whistler Allen keeps a steady high-hat beat. The song builds to a crescendo when all four vocalists come back with guitars and bass.

The standout track from this EP is already “baseball,” but it doesn’t leave “traveler” or “warm glow” too far behind. Unfortunately, these three tracks just make me yearn for another album. I’m a greedy fan.

So bundle up, sit down with a pair of headphones and let “warm glow” carry you through the winter.

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