Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Gus Dapperton teases indie listeners with another glimpse of stardom

"You Think You're a Comic" was released on Feb. 9

Official Gus Dapperton Facebook page

Official Gus Dapperton Facebook page

By Tyler Wyatt, Collegian Correspondent

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Gus Dapperton displays his ability to move dance floors and powerfully deliver emotion in his own signature style with the EP, “You Think You’re a Comic.” He packs an impressively-wide array of expression in just four tracks, all while channeling his unique retro flavor. Self-produced and self-released, the EP is a testament to Dapperton’s artistic and technical musical ability.

The opening track, “Prune, You Talk Funny,” hooks the listener with an upbeat and laid-back tone. The harmony is laid by a mellow chorus guitar and countered by a low, cool bassline. Dapperton harmonizes with himself at the end of each line, displaying his wide vocal range and impressive control. With a rock drum kit, he controls the energy of the song mainly with the hi-hat, dropping it entirely during the first verse and introducing an upbeat eighth-note pattern with a burst of synth in the chorus. Dapperton uses his percussive elements to create a sense of anticipation for the listener and to control the upbeat energy of the song. Easy to digest but Dapperton-esque, the song acts as a sample of his style and an invitation to the listener to keep floating through the EP.

“I Have Lost my Pearls” begins with a slow reprise of the previous track’s harmony, bringing a more depressive energy and a removal of the pop feel from the previous track. Dapperton delivers a gritty, visceral vocal performance that starkly contrasts the previous song. The rhythm ebbs and flows as the musician transitions between a loud, expressive chorus and a quieter verse that bursts with emotion that is reminiscent of King Krule. The listener gets sucked into this EP with the first track, and “I Have Lost my Pearls” delivers the message that Dapperton is capable of expressing a darker, more guttural energy that is less typical in indie music.

“Amadelle With Love” moves the EP back toward the direction of pop. Dapperton employs a deep kick drum in a steady quarter-note pattern with an upbeat bass line to establish a fun, indie dance rhythm. He also uses a myriad of expressive synth sounds to emphasize the upbeat energy of the track. Specifically, he includes a square-synth that mirrors his vocal melody that he modulates with vibrato as the tone develops that gives the song a retro 80s tint. The track delivers a fun energy, but the downside is that the vocals, specifically the lyrical content, are not particularly clear. Unless you’re deliberately listening for the lyrics, it will be hard to distinguish them from the wash of instrumental backing them up. This is a shame, as Dapperton’s unique style is infused into his lyrics just as much as his instrumentation.

The final song, “Beyond Amends,” is a heart-wrenching ballad that opts for a more acoustic instrumentation. The song begins with a harrowing piano riff laden with reverb, before being supplemented by a strong, emphatic vocal performance from Dapperton. Lyrically, Dapperton paints a picture of the painful end of a relationship, with each partner leaving emotionally devastated. All of the elements of the song combine to instill this melancholy, regretful emotion into the listener. The haunting piano riff returns later with a beautiful cello to finish off the song and the EP as a whole.

Dapperton delivers a deeply contrasting and emotional performance in just four short songs on “You Think You’re a Comic!” At times, the instrumentals — heavily-layered with synthesizers and guitars — drown out the vocals, as there are so many elements to focus on. However, this intricacy makes the EP a great project to listen to again and again. You’ll discover something new about the project with every play-through.

Released February 9, 2018, “You Think You’re a Comic!” is Dapperton’s second official EP.

Tyler Wyatt can be reached at [email protected]

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