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Heads Are Gonna Roll

The Hippos

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Album Review

The Hippos draw from all sorts of influences, but they really couldn't have existed any other time than the late '90s. A band weened on new wave that came of age during the alt-rock boom of the early '90s, the Hippos are gleeful magpies, borrowing from any kind of post-punk pop they've ever heard. At their core, they're a ska-punk band, but they're a ska-punk band whose lives were changed by Weezer. Rentals-esque synthesizers are all over the Hippos' major-label debut Heads Are Gonna Roll, but that's not the only concession to new wave-fueled post-grunge. Like their pseudo-ska peers Smash Mouth and No Doubt, the Hippos have a way with a hook and a love for good-times, which gives them the uncanny aura of being New Wave one-hit wonders. That, of course, is something of a problem, since one-hit wonders are notorious for producing one memorable tune, which is always surrounded by filler on the full-length record. The Hippos dodge that problem on Heads Are Gonna Roll by having it sound like a collection of one-hit wonders instead of a cohesive album. Neat trick, actually, because it results in a breezy, fun listen. That doesn't mean that it's consistent — a lot of songs are rather faceless ska-punk and the de rigeur new wave cover of "Always Something There to Remind Me" is clunky — but it is fun. And, by the end of the record, it sinks in why the group stands apart from their ska-ed out peers. Sure, there's the heavy Weezer/Rentals influence, and that's the gateway to their uniqueness: their geekiness. Lead vocalist Ariel at times uncannily resembles John Flansburgh, and They Might Be Giants' nerdy take on pop is apparent throughout the record. They're geeks that are ready to party with their new wave-polished Orange County ska, and they have a pretty good party on their hands with Heads Are Gonna Roll.

Customer Reviews

Five stars

Dude, if anything, buy the song "thinking". I'd say its the catchiest. But, pretty solid album in my opinion.

great new wavey ska band

this is a great cd that is worth the money. the best songs are probably lost paulina and wasting my life

poppy ska

the album is pretty decent. songs grow on ya. their second cd is the best, but alas it is not available through this music store.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Los Angeles ska-punks the Hippos formed in late 1995, comprising singer/guitarist Ariel Rechtshaid, bassist James Bairian, trumpeter Louis Castle, trombonists Danny Rukasin and Rich Zahniser, and drummer Kyle Biggs. After debuting in 1998 with the Vagrant Records release Forget the World,...
Full Bio
Heads Are Gonna Roll, The Hippos
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Customer Ratings


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