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Lupin is the sound of an arrival. Across eight tracks of subverted, expansive pop, Jake Luppen’s solo debut is all sharp edges, a fractured self-portrait pieced together through left-of-center, pop maximalism.
Although Luppen rose to prominence as a vocalist and guitarist in St. Paul’s beloved indie outfit Hippo Campus, the songs on 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.”
Written mainly in breaks during a sprawl of 112 shows for Hippo Campus’ Bambi from 2018-2019, Lupin was an unexpected path to confidence. It also offered an escape from the grind of endless touring and a way for Luppen to process major and stressful life events directly through songwriting.
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.
Working alongside producer BJ Burton (Bon Iver, Charli XCX, Banks), the two spent intensive sessions collecting material, coalescing as many layers felt true to serve the songs