Taste-test return-to-form | “Boys” by Hippo Campus


Aidan Walsh, Writer/Volunteer

Let’s get reflective.

It’s been three months since Hippo Campus dropped their quarantine EP Good Dog, Bad Dream, bringing the techno-electronic experimentation of 2018’s Bambi to the forefront in yet another shift of signature sound for the band. Since then, the collection has aged like a fine cask of wine, enough to tide the fanbase over until the next major release. After all, we made the three year span between 2018 and 2021 with just Demos I and II.

Then “Boys” dropped, along with the announcement that LP3 is coming February 2022. Hallelujah.

“Boys” serves dually as a palate cleanser and appetizer for this upcoming EP, borrowing from the band’s recent electronic endeavours while harkening back to the nostalgia fueled jams from an earlier era. It’s particularly reminiscent of “warm glow,” playing on those coming of age themes and featuring incredibly catchy, bittersweet choruses. It completely owns that midwestern melody which defined the band in their debut album Landmark.

The song is as emotional and intimate as it is sweet to listen to. Lead vocalist Jake Luppen lends his personal experiences to the lyrics, having come out publicly as queer this past July:

“Kissing boys, missing work, got hungover from your words /

Same New York, it’s the worst, all these nights are a blur /

Going broke, make it rain, ain’t got nobody to blame /

All this time down the drain, I’m the best at insane.”

Along with the electronic sound, Luppen’s ever-impressive vocal range carries the song, but that’s certainly not to dismiss the instrumentals. I am particularly a fan of the guitar work backing the chorus. It gives a sort of composed chaos sound which is oh so pleasing when complemented by the flexing lyrics. 

As with so many of their tracks, Hippo Campus strikes that coming-of-age nostalgia rock chord better than most other bands. “Boys” is another addition to their discography which is well suited for those late night, pre-bedtime jam sessions.