11828837_704015726370257_6081539446921147438_nWoodbury, Minnesota four-piece Hippo Campus deliver an “anthem rock”-friendly sound on their latest offering, a five-song E.P. titled South.  Some big production gives this E.P. its sound and direction – for an indie band, it sounds like a “going for it” type of release.

The first two tracks, “Close to Gold” and “Dollar Bill” have those fluidly, quirky guitars that remind me of late Talking Heads; the call-and-response of “Close to Gold” is something that fits comfortably in the “Broadway rock” vein and “Dollar Bill” has a world music vibe (think “Nothing But Flowers”).  The title track has some nice and tasteful guitar touches and is the easily the standout track with its structural peaks and valleys; “Violet” has a cleanly dissonant opening of guitar sludge (a tidy Sonic Youth) but then goes into quiet and back to the assault on the chorus and “The Halocline” closes the E.P. by going from subdued space to melodic throttle about three minutes in – a more controlled kind of My Bloody Valentine (or Pixies, if you’re so inclined).

Nonetheless, there are some inspired flashes in these five songs.  I hope they can draw back on the anthem thing going forward and continue in the vein of the last two tracks.  Being this is only their second official release, they have their work cut out for them into the future.

South will be available as of Friday, October 2nd, 2015.


About the Author

Rob Ross

Rob Ross has been, for good, bad or indifferent, involved in the music industry for over 30 years - first as guitarist/singer/songwriter with The Punch Line, then as freelance journalist, producer and manager to working for independent and major record labels. He resides in Staten Island, New York with his wife and cats; he works out a lot, reads voraciously, loves Big Star and his orange Gretsch. Doesn't that make him neat?

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