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, funk-leaning maximalism. For Luppen, the process of making the record was one of self-discovery and a path to confidence, learning who he could be – and had always been – as both an artist and simply a person.
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.”
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. Even so, 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.