Artist: Hippo Campus
Label: Transgressive Records
Landmark by Hippo Campus may seem irrelevant to most because it came out in 2017, but ever since I found it in 2020 I can't get it out of my head. My friends hear me talk about it to the point that I now have two vinyls of it back home because they know I can't get enough. The cover even tells a story within itself as it includes an object representing each song, and I have yet to discover another album like this. Everything also feels carefully connected and nostalgic, the order of the songs is near perfection, and I can confidently say that there aren't any I would consider skipping (aside from the intro and interlude maybe). Hippo Campus is definitely still an underrated gem that needs to be uncovered by more people, so I definitely recommend checking out this indie rock/pop band sometime!
Starting off strong, the album has a warm intro that fades into the first song on the track: "Way It Goes". This is one of the two songs off the album that most indie fans would recognize, and it's the perfect vibe that makes you feel carefree and alive. Imagine you're walking in a park with your closest friends, and that's what this song encapsulates. A lovely bonus for this song is that it's the same few chords over and over, so it's easy to play on the guitar if you're a beginner like myself.
Following this track, "Vines" and "Epitaph" begin to shift the mood temporarily. "Vines" focuses more on the melancholy aspects of a relationship that isn't seeming to work out because they don't see eye to eye on what they want. The hypnotic chorus somehow turns these lyrics about constant annoyances in a relationship into a song that makes you want to drive with the windows down regardless if it's cold outside or not. On the other hand, "Epitaph" is a slower song with uniquely crafted lyrics that highlight the positives of a girl talked about throughout the song. This song pairs well with studying or sitting in your bedroom because it's like the deep breath that feels like it can solve all of your problems.
The next three tracks are so strong together, as they're more upbeat and make the listener feel like the best person they can be. "Simple Season" is the more popular track out of "Tuesday" and "Western Kids", and the bridge of that song alone has made it one of my favorite Hippo Campus songs overall. There is a special place for "Tuesday" in my heart because it's one of my dad's favorites, but I feel like anyone who listens to it will feel like home even if they're no where close. "Western Kids" is overlooked, but the chorus always puts a smile on my face because it's contrasted so well with the other verses.
"Poems" and "Monsoon" are by far the most emotional songs on the album, and slow the pace down immensely. "Poems" is more of a dreamy pop song that feels heavenly start to finish, and sometimes I feel as if I lift off my seat when it plays. "Monsoon" delves into Nathan Stocker's, Hippo Campus' guitarist, feelings towards his 18-year old sister's death due to a car accident. The fact that this album can jump from the most feel-good track to one with deep emotions is amazing, and the build up throughout pulls the listener through it all in the best way possible. Although it's a slower song, it manages to have Hippo Campus' signature sound throughout, which strengthens the album even more.
Nearing the end, "Vacation" and "Boyish" are very different from the rest of the album. "Vacation" is more lyric-based with less instrumental, but the whole song continues to build until the last minute and a half. It reminds me more of "Tuesday" or "Vines" by the end, but it's important to fully take in all the lyrics to appreciate this song. "Boyish" was, and might still be, my favorite Hippo Campus song because it's the one that made me realize how special they were. This one is more indie rock because it has more drums and is very upbeat, but since it's so different from the rest of their sound and rarely played live it really stood out to me.
Finally, the one you've all been waiting for, "Buttercup". The Hippo Campus staple. The lyrics of this song are so well crafted, and every time I listen to this song it's stuck in my head for the rest of the day. The interlude of the album preps the listener for this masterpiece, and I believe that if you've never heard this song you're simply not living. It might take a few listens to grow on you, but once it does it will live in your head rent-free for a WHILE.
The warm glow EP includes three other outstanding tracks that are worth mentioning because they are outtakes from Landmark. I definitely recommend listening to those as well if you enjoy Landmark, but in the end I hope you can see how special this album and band are to me as a whole. I'm very grateful my dad has also expressed his appreciation for the band, and I hope there comes a day where I can see them live for a second time with him.
The Greeting Committee
Written By: Elizabeth McCluskey
Published On: 10 December 2022