Hippo Campus Underdelivers with New Album “Bambi”

Hayley Lynch, Staff Writer

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Released on Sept. 28, 2018, Hippo Campus debuts “Bambi,” their second studio album. They experiment more than ever with electronic, synth pop beats to accompany their usual indie rock/pop style. While it shines with lyrically and rhythmically dynamic tracks “Bambi” and “Why Even Try,” “Bambi” struggles to both find a consistent sound and to create memorable tracks.

Opening with an electronically driven slow song, “Mistakes” turns out to be an underwhelming introduction. With a long intro, striking, almost spoken-word arch in the middle, the song drags out slowly and for too long. Lyrics like “Sometimes, mistakes/Sometimes, mistakes” lack depth and originality. The following track “Anxious” starts off with a strange beat that continues to pop up throughout the song despite powerful lyrics about anxiety (“Don’t you know you’re not to blame/For feeling anxious, anxious”). “Doubt,” though repetitive, is an overall smooth track laden with slow, upbeat guitar and background drums that sounds more similar to their previous work.

“Bambi” is truly the standout track of the album. Despite sounding disjointed in the previous songs, here Hippo Campus hits home with their electronic pop beats weaved into indie rock. A catchy beat and a cleverly layered outro with echoes of the chorus makes the title track a triumph. The next song, “Why Even Try,” begins with acoustic guitar before transitioning into the trademark Hippo Campus sound reminiscent of their previous album. Inventive lyrics such as “The feelings burst and then they fall/’Till later on/We walk it back and patch things up,” showcase the band’s skills in songwriting. While not necessarily on par with “Bambi,” “Why Even Try” is one of the more remarkable songs from their record.

Unfortunately, tracks “Think It Over” and “Bubbles” are musically disjointed and odd (neither bouts of heavy metal nor piano with synthesizers and repetition are strengths of the band), while “Honestly” is a decent addition, but fails to stand out. Lyrically, “Golden” is full of imagery with lines such as “I’m a sucker for your glowing/Love from the west” and music that delivers better than most of the album. It ends with “Passenger,” another fairly forgettable song with pretty piano notes that mirrors the long, drawn out introduction. Overall, while the title track and a few others highlight the band’s talent, the dysfunction of a new sound and continuously underwhelming productions leaves “Bambi” falling flat.