Music Reviews
Threesome

Baby Boys Threesome

(Grand Jury) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

Threesome, more than any other album that Jake Luppen has been involved with, is off-putting. From his aching solo record under the name Lupin to his role as vocalist of Hippo Campus, Luppen has previously acted as a subdued frontman that guides the listener through breakups and emotional burnout. With Baby Boys, a trio that Luppen threw together with Hippo Campus guitarist Nathan Stocker and fellow Minnesota creative Caleb Hinz, there seems to be a deliberative attempt to get out of their boring indie-pop comfort zone. Gone are the atmospheric guitar leads and sensitive arrangements. On this debut, you’ll find pitch-shifted vocals, aquatic percussion, aggressively strange production, and a smorgasbord of glorious chaos.

Unlike plenty of Luppen’s work in the past, there’s a freewheeling, overwhelming joy to Threesome—as if the band threw everything at the wall and then put back up the fallen pieces with scotch tape. The trio recorded the entire project during the early morning—from 2 am to 6 am, to be exact—at BJ Burton’s studio over the course of a week. Considering the way the group described their process in a recent Closed Captioned interview, the album feels like it captures the “Yes, and” mantra of improvisation comedy; giving breathing room to any ideas they had, alienating and alluring in equal parts. “Catch me at the common place, pissing in the coffee” is how they get the ball rolling on the opener Common Place, and it only gets weirder from there.

Maggot Water is a natural showcase of the group’s woozy eclecticness. When the song kicks off, it comes crashing through with a stumbling, drunken groove, anchored by a fluctuating synth and programmed drum work. Soon Luppen’s voice appears, delivering a handful of non-sequiturs that are performed with a meaningful seriousness. The background vocals have autotune while the bass buzzes like a hornet, all before it explodes into a jubilant finale of horns, plucked strings, and vocables being sung over top. You’re five minutes into the album by the time it ends, but the headspace of the album has been thoroughly explained.

Aside from the occasional misstep—the mercifully short Bum Ving Gatti moves with the energy of a dehydrated party goer—there’s an odd cohesion to Threesome, which is peculiar for a project that prides itself on its random energy. There’s the slow burn of Backgammon and Cannonball, which both sound like the sort of lo-fi bedroom pop ballads that will inevitably go viral on TikTok. The trio refine their sound into a perfect two minute pop song on Duke & The Cash, backed by an aggressively picked acoustic guitar part and punching drums. Maybe it’s the harmonies or maybe it’s that guitar lick, but there’s something indisputably infectious about Duke and the solid album it comes from.