When Hippo Campus formed in 2013, their intentions were pure and simple. "We were in high school and the main idea was, 'Let's start a band and make our friends dance,'" Zach Sutton from the band recalls. "There was no real context to what we were doing - it was just total creative joy."
But over the past five years, that context has shifted dramatically. The world around them warped into something bleak and unsteady, and reckoning with mental health issues became more and more crucial. On their sophomore album Bambi, the St. Paul, Minnesota-bred band navigate that upheaval with deliberate self-reflection. The result is a selection of songs that drift into much darker terrain, but unfold with a frenetic yet fragile beauty that makes even the most painful moments feel glorious.
Not only driven by exacting introspection, Bambi was also shaped by cultural shifts, including the #MeToo Movement. "That really made us take a look at how toxic masculinity has influenced the way we see ourselves and the world overall," says Jake Luppen. "In the past we might have been apprehensive about being super-vulnerable, but now we're more aware of how important it is to come forward about dealing with depression or anxiety. Because if more men are able to do that, they might be less likely to express those feelings as anger or violence."
5. Why Even Try
6. Think It Over