There's something strange that happens when you're in the back of a van going 70 mph down an interstate highway at least ten hours from home. The back of that van becomes a home. The rest of the world turns dim and hazy. The only concrete thing you have is a trunk converted into a makeshift bed and your three best friends occupied with headphones or a book. Even when conversation is slim, the mere presence of these people brings a peace thought to be attainable only by blood.
The warm glow EP, the latest release from Minneapolis indie pop quartet Hippo Campus, unexpectedly became an ode to that relationship. When the present becomes uncertain, we cling to what brings purpose: each other.
"This being the first record that we self produced, we aimed to capitalize on our love and respect for each other as people and musicians. We built this band as four boys in a room discovering what adulthood meant; putting our trust in each other to define what that might be," says singer/guitarist Jake Luppen. "A project must grow and evolve, at times pulling its creators apart. It's necessary however, in an almost therapeutic way, to return to what has always been sacred."
So it's no surprise that the interplay between the four members of Hippo Campus has never been more rich than it is on warm glow, a three-song EP that perfectly encapsulates what makes this band so special. Pop melodies sit atop thoughtful compositions like the surprise match of verse and chorus on the effortlessly catchy "baseball." Guitars work up a finger-tapped frenzy on "traveler" only to give way to a piano-led back half that builds to a horizon-sized climax. Meanwhile, the woozy, twilit lilt of the EP's namesake "warm glow" is a communal, heartfelt sendoff for a release that belies its brief runtime. It's a condensed and perfect coda to the band's debut landmark, which came six months prior.
And with the one-two punch of landmark and warm glow, the band's time in the back of a van, cultivating a new home is only increasing. From the mainstages of Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, to headline dates in some of the nation's biggest rooms, Hippo Campus continues their ascent one gig, one release, and one 70mph drive at a time.