New Hippo Campus EP disappoints

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, the band Hippo Campus released an EP album entitled “Warm Glow” to a rather surprised fan base. The EP consists of three new songs, “Baseball,” “Traveler,” and “Warm Glow.” This St. Paul-based indie-rock band dropped their most recent album, “Landmark,” not even a year ago. “Landmark,” unlike this new EP, was expected and had been hyped by the band on their Instagram account for weeks leading up to its release. Their latest release was completely out of the blue.

Those of us who were lucky enough to be on Concordia’s campus for last year’s penultimate CEC event, Cornstock, probably remember Hippo Campus relatively well. As the opener for headliner Relient K, they put on a great show, packed with upbeat songs that had catchy choruses and unique instrumentation. Their set was perfect for dancing and singing and started off the show with a bang. They played a lot of songs off of “Landmark” when they were here for Cornstock, and fans may be pleased to know that their newest EP is consistent with their previous sound.

Before I continue any further, it’s important to distinguish the difference between an EP album, a single, and an album. A single is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a singular song that an artist often releases as a teaser to their full album. An EP is a little different. EP stands for Extended Play Record and falls between a single and an album in terms of length. In this particular case, Hippo Campus’s EP consists of three songs and is thirteen minutes total. An album is usually closer to ten songs and is much longer.

As mentioned, these three new songs are very consistent with the sound that makes Hippo Campus unique. Their first song, “Baseball”, has a steady drumbeat with a somewhat funky electric guitar riff over the top of a strong bass line. The verses are more laid-back, but the chorus makes you want to get up and dance. The second song, “Traveler,” has a more of a laid-back mood but still has the same infectious sound. “Warm Glow” is much slower than the other two and is what I would consider rainy-day music.

As fun as these songs are to listen to, they’re predictable. Now, I have a special place in my heart for Hippo Campus and have followed them since I was in high school, but their songs are starting to merge together. Every one of their songs follows the same formula and the listener is always able to predict what is coming next. When I heard Hippo Campus had released a new EP I quickly rushed to listen to it, but was somewhat disappointed with more of the same old, same old.

Hippo Campus has definitely established their sound. They know what works for them and have been successful with what they have produced thus far. The band has recently reached more than 1 million listeners on Spotify and they are about to embark on an international tour for their most recent album. In addition to their international tour, they recently announced more tour dates for the United States, which they previously toured last year.

I am by no means less of a fan because I was disappointed with their new music. I just wish they would experiment with their sound and try something new. As listeners grow it’s important for artists to grow too. I’m afraid Hippo Campus won’t continue on the same path of success if they keep releasing the same kinds of songs.
Give their new stuff a listen, let me what you think!

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