Bambi was shaped by the cultural and societal shift which was driven by the #MeToo Movement. “That really made us take a look at how toxic masculinity has influenced the way we see ourselves and the world overall,” says Jake Luppen. “In the past, we might have been apprehensive about being super-vulnerable but now we’re more aware of how important it is to come forward about dealing with depression or anxiety. Because if more men are able to do that, they might be less likely to express those feelings as anger or violence.”
As Nathan Stocker points out, Bambi may find a particular connection with those feeling shaken up by the chaos of current times. “The only thing I’m sure about with this album is how unsure it is,” he says. “I want people to feel as confused as we are about everything because confusion can be an interesting thing. When you don’t totally understand what’s going on, you never stop thinking and questioning and trying to figure things out for yourself. I think a lot of good can come from that.”
Bambi achieved being the paradoxical album it set out to be. Throughout the album, Hippo Campus match their relentless introspect and self-examination with a joyfully adventurous sonic approach that we are used to from them.
Hippo Campus has the ability to emotionally transform their experiences that they face and utilizing it to help others deal with their own personal anguish or pain. “I’ve always considered the responsibility of art to be representing your specific experience,” says Sutton. “We’re saying, ‘This is what I’m doing now, this what I’m living like.’ It’s about sharing what you’re going through, so maybe someone else will feel less lonely.”
Partly recorded at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio in Chicago, Bambi finds Hippo Campus working again with producer BJ Burton (Bon Iver, Low, Francis, and the Lights), who handled production on their 2017 full-length debut Landmark. And in sculpting Bambi’s distinctly inventive arrangements, the quintet significantly expanded their use of drum machines and synth.
Bambi gives a doe-eyed view with plenty of gravitational herald melodies that evoke hazy memories. Listeners are transported into a magical and mystical forest full of atmospheric music and beautifully solemn harmonies of ethereal synths that are delicate like clouds that leave you feeling like you’re floating. Stream Bambi below.