>> Hippo Campus is one of the top names to know in indie-radio songs of the summer. With “Bambi”, they throw some new twists on a classic sound.
The classic Hippo Campus sound is nice, but it can get pretty old pretty fast. Luckily, they seem to have taken notice, because “Bambi” is their most different release yet. Sure, you can hear that well-loved sound spread throughout, but this album brings more synth focus than we’ve ever heard from them before. It’s a nice change-up to what could otherwise be an enjoyable but bland album.
Of course, while synth is the main focus, that’s not the only way Hippo Campus looks to reinvent themselves. “Bambi” takes a few other stabs at being different - heavy effects, differing structure, anything to shake up the formula. It doesn’t always pan out, but the mere attempt to be different is so refreshing.
Somehow, through all their attempts at uniqueness, Hippo Campus hasn’t actually made an original album. Sure, it’s new for them, but to the listener, it’s just another ripoff of The 1975. The distinctive vocal tracks are there, synths or outright piano paired with inoffensive yet affected guitar, inoffensive drums. It seems like that chiaroscuro brit-pop is what sells, and Hippo Campus is jumping on the bandwagon. Granted, it’s not all mimicry: tracks like “Bubbles” really do bring an interesting twist to the sound. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between.
Hippo Campus has never been the most unique band. They’ve been largely fun, upbeat, and inoffensive across all of their releases. With “Bambi”, however, they come closer to mainlining someone else’s commercial success than ever before. The album makes small attempts at riffing off indie hits, and once in a while it really succeeds. For the most part, though, it serves best as a prequel: Maybe, just maybe, those little moments that really shine will lead to a badass new EP. 3.5/5 <<