The Chicago Vibe


Show reviews, album highlights, and more.

Hippo Campus' Landmark puts them on the map

Emily Cosgrove | May 2017

Photo: Alice Baxley

Photo: Alice Baxley

As Hippo Campus heads to Metro tonight performing a rescheduled sold out show due to illness, I decided to look back onto their most recent work. After releasing several EPs and singles, Hippo Campus has come out with their first full-length album, Landmark--and it does not disappoint. 

Hippo Campus is a band that I have been hearing about for quite a while now. Their name is plastered on festival lineups, I have heard plenty of their songs, and I even saw them in September of 2015 at the House of Blues in Chicago. They are a band with a lot of buzz surrounding them, so I thought I should delve deeper and really give them a listen.

Landmark is all around a fantastic first full album. Other than being well-rounded, it manages to achieve and maintain an indie-sound while still being able to appeal to the general music listener. I fully enjoyed listening to it and wanted to review a few of my favorite tracks from the album.

The album opens up with the track “Sun Veins”. The only way I can describe this tune is chilling and enigmatic, with muffled vocals and electronic beats. It made me wonder what the rest of the album could possibly sound like. 

Next, we head into the second track called “Way It Goes”. This song could not be any more different than the opening track. It is upbeat and memorable; a perfect song to listen to on a dreamy summer day.

We have quite a few songs in the similar pop-sounding vein of “Way It Goes” (but don’t get me wrong, they are all phenomenal). Then we are hit with a track that blew my mind. “Poems” is the eighth track on the album, and is filled with emotion. The soft vocals are accompanied by dynamic instrumentals; this is a song on Landmark that really changes the pace of the album.

The next track, “Monsoon”, also features more emotional depth to the album. It focuses on the vocals, which gives the song a certain rawness that helps Landmark achieve an impressively mature sound.

One of my favorite tracks is “Boyish”, which was the first single released before the album was even announced. It allows this album to come full circle. We have another catchy song in a pop framework that I feel really captures what Hippo Campus is all about: it’s dreamy, it’s fun, it’s chill. 

Landmark was a great first full-length effort from Hippo Campus. I have to say, for a newer band, I am pretty impressed. This album shifted my view of Hippo Campus from just another indie rock band full of 21-year olds to a band who has what it takes to become the next big thing.