It’s been one whole week since Hippo Campus released their debut album, Landmark. The album is named after a building at their high school in Minnesota and the cover features their rehearsal space which represents a ‘landmark‘ of its own. The band released singles “Boyish,” “Monsoon,” and “Way It Goes” preceding the album’s release and each quickly climbed to their most played tracks on Spotify. These songs acted as an excellent preview for the album without giving too much away. Landmark features thirteen all-new tracks. But don’t underestimate the amount of music I can consume in only seven days. Upon a first-round listen, I was immediately taken with the album as a whole (I haven’t had this type of reaction in a while, never wanting to skip a single track.)
This album has me reaching for spring for dear life. With mentions of “Wisconsin pines”, “sunlight dripping off the apricot tree”, daffodils, buttercups, and meadows (oh my?) it’s the perfect segue to spring. (I think it’s notable to mention that there are quite a few mentions of trees, specifically pine trees… Just thought I’d point that out.)
Imagine that dreamy moment when you wake up far before you need to. You catch a glimpse of that first beam of sunshine peeking through the blinds in the morning. That blissful, stirring moment when you first roll over; that is Landmark. It wakes you up in the best way. This is the best way I can explain the magic Hippo Campus has created in just 13 tracks. I know it’ll be even more essential to my music arsenal as the weather gets warmer.
Admittedly, my my first-round listen took a detour due to the fact that I became hung-up on track three: “Vines”. So nicely following “Way It Goes,” “Vines” is incredibly sunny and infectious and beautifully sets the tone for the remainder of the album. That being said, Landmark flows through the course of three (major) interspersed themes: mellow and bright, mellow and melancholy, and straight up ROWDY. “Epitaph,” “Simple Season,” and “Tuesday” have similar mellow yet bright vibes that will send honey coursing through your veins. Next is the boisterous “Western Kids,” followed by the lull created by “Poems” which slips into the quiet and beautiful “Monsoon”; an understated and captivating song. The mellow and bright vibes return with “Vacation” which is followed by “Boyish,” harking back to the rowdy vibes of “Western Kids.” There are also unexpected moments, like in the first track “Sun Veins” and “Interlude”. Though these are two relatively short moments, they carry a heavy foreshadowing for what they precede; “Sun Veins” sets the tone for the entire album while “Interlude” wraps it up in fanfare just before the last rowdy track, “Buttercup.”
I haven’t taken to an album as quickly as this in quite some time. Hippo Campus shows off their extensive vocabulary and knack for imagery throughout Landmark and I continue to catch new things with each repeat. From what I can tell, a week in, these are the kinds of tracks that stick and don’t get boring. But these words can’t do it justice. I insist you experience this album first hand. Speaking of which, I’ll be seeing Hippo Campus perform this masterpiece March 28th; ecstatic is an understatement.
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