Gus Dapperton’s “Orca” Is a Bittersweet Wonder


Gus Dapperton just released his newest album “Orca.” (Courtesy of Facebook)

Balance is the key to life. The ebb and flow of opposing forces in nature reflect those of daily life, whether it is clear as day or dark as night. Everyone, regardless of who they are or what they have been through, is bound to struggle with themselves or their surroundings somehow it is just the way life must go. However, I try to cope with inevitable hardship by viewing juxtaposed positive feelings or experiences as catalysts for comparison to remind me that things always get better one way or another. This phenomenon is easier said than done and is often difficult to put into words, but Gus Dapperton makes it look easy on his most recent album “Orca.”

The bedroom pop boy wonder strikes again. For a  year and a half after the highly anticipated release of his debut album “Where Polly People Go to Read,” Gus Dapperton has been hard at work putting out new music for his fans. Collaborating with electronic DJs Surf Mesa and B. Hayes as well as singer-songwriter BENEE on her smash hit “Supalonely,” this span of 18 months has found Dapperton stepping out beyond the realm of quirky indie stardom to become even more versatile as an artist and innovator. Needless to say, “Orca” has proven that a sophomore slump was way outside the realm of possibility for Dapperton.

I honestly cannot tell if this album is happy with sad undertones, or vice versa, but this uncertainty makes it even more interesting to listen to. Keeping his nose to the grindstone and his heart on his sleeve, Dapperton’s raw acoustic approach to production and vulnerable method of songwriting is a far cry from his synth-led pop bops of years past. Frankly, I am here for it.

My favorite song is Dapperton’s second single “Post Humorous.” Aside from its crisp acoustic guitar melodies and plucky basslines, it makes light of the inevitable nature of death in a way that somehow makes you want to dance with your friends or go on a road trip. As for the lyrics, Dapperton’s sophisticated vocabulary paradoxically makes the song even more lighthearted. Similarly, “Palms” translates the fervent pain of heartbreak and rejection into four minutes of funk and fun that will leave you simultaneously happy and confused.

On the flipside, if you are looking for slow songs to break you down and build you back up again, then look no further tracks such as “Swan Song,” “First Aid” and “Grim” will surely do the trick.

I am genuinely excited to listen to this LP more. In all, “Orca” shows the immense personal growth of a musician whois already ahead of his time. Although I am a fan of Dapperton’s entire discography, there is definitely something special here.