Hippo Campus have made a sound adjustment on their new single, “Passenger.” For a band whose music is typically awash in guitars, their piano-driven track, which features a lot of open space at its beginning and end, tilts away from what fans are used to. The song follows on the heels of the warm glow EP released last fall, which itself came out only about seven months after the band’s debut album landmark.
The band has been known to hold onto hinted songs for eventual release, like “baseball,” which was played live in varying forms since 2016, and “warm glow,” which appeared in the “Inside The Making Of landmark“ video before both made it onto the warm glow EP. However, “Passenger” had no teasing period, despite being written after the first few months of Hippo Campus touring landmark in the winter of 2017, and also hasn’t found home in a larger work.
“Passenger” is a stand-alone single and has distinctly cooler push than the atmospheric, golden hour warmth of previous release warm glow. “Monsoon” off landmark, however, is called to mind with the piano center and how the space is progressively filled out; on “Passenger,” this happens first with subtle background vocals, then in a flood of instruments.
“Lyrically the themes deal with the challenges of growing alongside the person you love,” Jake Luppen (singer/guitarist) said of “Passenger.” “For this song in particular I tried to challenge myself to write a more complex chord progression to sing to.”
The song takes on a sound more akin to Birdy’s Beautiful Lies or Bon Iver’s 22, A Million than anything Hippo Campus have released in the past. These parallels surface most strongly in how the drums take a commanding role, buffeting against the eardrum in the chorus, and in the synth details while the music swells. Friend and trumpeter DeCarlo Jackson plays on the track as well, adding another dimension to the song.
DeCarlo also plays with Hippo Campus live and joined the band at the Paste Studio for a performance last year, not long after we spoke with them about landmark.
The band has also announced a fall tour starting in Milwaukee, Wis. this October after returning from the U.K. The band will circle back to the Midwest in November to close the tour in the Twin Cities—the band’s place of origin. With the exception of the Chicago, Philadelphia and Minnesota dates, The Districts will be joining Hippo Campus for the duration of the fall tour. Tickets go on sale this Friday.
Below, you can listen to “Passenger” and watch the band’s performance at Paste. See their full tour slate further down.
Hippo Campus Tour Dates:
07 – Quincy, Calif. @ High Sierra Music Festival
09 – San Francisco, Calif. @ The Independent
18 – Morrison, Colo. @ Red Rocks *
22 – London, U.K. @ Omeara
23 – London, U.K. @ Omeara
24 – Leeds, U.K. @ Leeds Festival
26 – Reading, U.K. @ Reading Festival
05 – Milwaukee, Wis. @ Pabst Theater ^
06 – Chicago, Ill. @ Riviera
09 – St. Louis, MO. @ Pageant ^
10 – Covington, Ky. @ Madison Theater ^
12 – Nashville, Tenn. @ Marathon Music Works ^
13 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Masquerade ^
15 – Asheville, N.C. @ Orange Peel ^
16 – Columbus, Ohio @ Newport Music Hall ^
18 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Union Transfer
19 – New York, N.Y. @ Terminal 5 ^
21 – Buffalo, N.Y. @ Town Ballroom ^
22 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Stage AE ^
24 – Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club ^
27 – Boston, Mass. @ House of Blues ^
28 – New Haven, Conn. @ College Street Music Hall ^
30 – Durham, N.C. @ Cat’s Cradle ^
02 – Birmingham, Ala. @ Iron City Music Hall ^
03 – New Orleans, La. @ House of Blues ^
05 – Oklahoma City, Okla. @ Jones Assembly ^
06 – San Antonio, Texas @ Paper Tiger ^
07 – Dallas, Texas @ Canton Hall ^
09 – Austin, Texas @ Stubb’s ^
10 – Houston, Texas @ White Oak Music Hall ^
23 – St. Paul, Minn. @ Palace Theatre
24 – St. Paul, Minn. @ Palace Theatre
(* = Supporting Sylvan Esso)
(^ = w/ The Districts)