Review: Gus Dapperton showcases his range of emotions on ‘Orca’

Gus Dapperton Twitter | Photo Courtesy
While his lyrics remain stagnant, his instrumentals shine this time around

The artist sees a significant improvement musically since his last LP

Gus Dapperton tends to stay in his lane when it comes to experimenting with new sounds. While it may not be for everyone, “different” is welcomed by most in today’s musically crowded era. With the arrival of his sophomore effort, Orca, the listener finds Dapperton on a road to peace through vulnerability.

The 23-year-old Gus Dapperton began releasing music in the spring of 2016 but didn’t truly take off and become known to the public for over a year. Dapperton released some of his most known hits including “I’m Just Snacking” and “Prune, You Talk Funny” throughout 2017, rising to the top of many lists of rising acts.

With his slow ascension to fame, Dapperton took nearly two years to complete his debut album, which was released to commercial and critical acclaim. Rather than jumping on the opportunity to promote his name and album, he did something most artists wouldn’t dare to risk. Avoiding major press releases and interviews, he sheltered himself in the studio and began working on his next project.

Over three years since his last album, Orca delivers a melodic blend of indie, alternative and pop music that is rarely put together as well as he’s done.

Over ten tracks, Dapperton brings a whole collection of songs to the genre of “bedroom pop.” The artist has retreated to further his experimentation with vocals and instrumentation. On tracks including “First Aid” and “Medicine,” he belts out lyrics at the top of his lungs, something he’s never done as well as this time around.

Furthermore, Dapperton didn’t stick to himself completely for this album, as he brought in some outside help for the first time. He brought in professional mixer Spike Stent, a collaborator who’s known for his work with artists such as Frank Ocean, U2 and Ed Sheeran, to assist in the final steps of this album and improving its overall quality.

Standout tracks from the project include the infectious ballad “Post Humorous” and the melancholic “Bluebird.” Some of the most notable lyrics on the album are from the former track, as Dapperton sings “I confess the incandescence of a dying light / A reminder / Ready when you find her / I repress the iridescence of a fire.”

While “Post Humorous” pulls listeners back time and time again, it may be an outlier, as many songs on the project don’t offer a high desire to return. The lyrics tend to be more of the same from his past projects, as it’s the instrumentals and overall improvement in Dapperton’s creative evolution that stand out as the highlights of this project.

While his first full-length album may have seen him down in the dumps and a state of numbness, Orca sees him on a road to restoration. It’s a road that can be confusing at times, not only for the creator but also as the listener. Yet as he journeys down that road, we’ll gladly follow along as he continues to deliver more music in the coming years.

Review: 3.5/5

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