Although Jake Luppen rose to prominence as a vocalist and guitarist in St. Paul’s beloved indie outfit Hippo Campus, the songs of his debut solo album Lupin feel like meeting him for the first time. He puts it succinctly: “With this record I wanted to get to the point, and say how things were, as opposed to dancing around them.”
Today he has dropped two brand new songs and videos — both directed by frequent Bon Iver collaborator Aaron Anderson — giving fans a more in-depth look at the complexities of the album. Both tracks deal with some heavy emotional liftings and reveal a new depth to Luppen not only as a musician but a songwriter.
“Vampire” touches on Jake’s surreal experience when he was told about a lump in his brain. “I was fully under the impression that I was dying when I wrote this – I had gotten a CT scan a couple weeks before that revealed a mass in my brain, which led me to believe that I had brain cancer or some form of Parkinson’s. When you’re reminded of your morality there’s a recklessness that creeps up. I found myself willfully doing things I knew I would end up regretting.”
While “Murder” deals with death of a different kind, the painful ending of a longterm relationship and part of the moving on process. “I had been living alone in a house that I used to share with my ex, so the lyrics were inspired by all of the things she left behind. One day I literally packed everything that reminded me of our relationship into boxes and shoved them in my closet. It felt like a funeral.”
The 2 new tracks come off the back of the previously released “May”. The song is a funk-driven, colossal pop gem with crashing drums that digs even deeper into Luppen’s well-documented pop sensibilities and is perfectly complimented by producer BJ Burton’s (Bon Iver, Low, Charli XCX) own sonic palette.
Lupin has a dynamic brightness. Inspired as much by Charli XCX’s Pop 2 as it is Tears for Fears, ‘80s new wave, and Prince, the genre-bending record holds true to a desire to make ‘80s music filtered through modern technology. Featuring synth and programming contributions from Jim-E Stack and Buddy Ross, Lupin weaves together fragmented drum loops, swooning falsetto, tangles of synths, and sharp guitar-lines, the final product is an off-kilter pop-sheen, one Luppen said was guided more by intuition and feeling than anything else.
Pre-save/Pre-order Lupin LP, out 10/9 on Grand Jury Music here.