“Where Polly People Go to Read” - Gus Dapperton
By Madison Deyo
A number of things combine to create an unforgettable musician. A stellar sense of style, a unique perspective on life, and the ability to encompass elaborate emotions into poetic phrases and ethereal soundscapes. Brendan Rice, better known as Gus Dapperton, hits all of the marks, taking center stage with an unapologetic understanding of his own self awareness.
The confidence he carries upon his shoulders in life is directly reflected in his gutsy, 90’s-esque, synthetic bedroom pop style of music. Following a path of similar beats and rhythms, Dapperton has carved a specific style that matches his persona, incorporating uncommon instruments into a number of the his songs to make them distinctly his own.
As his first official album, Where Polly People Go to Read is a culmination of every recognizable instrument he’s explored combined with the familiar dream-like quality of sweet synths and melodramatic vocals. Each song reflects the unique dance-pop energy apparent in the majority of his tunes, yet they manage to remain as separate entities, never losing their individuality and becoming an album long blur of the same sounds. The most mesmerizing aspect of the entirety of the album is the underlying synthetic hymn that lingers below the main beat and lyrics of every song, evoking a hypnotic melody that demands the listener to move their feet.
World Class Cinema, the second song on the album and one of the promotional singles released beforehand, is a anthemic banger with hard-hitting bass lines that almost require you to nod your head along with it. The uptempo structure and whimsical vocals flow together to craft a revolutionary brand of synth-pop. Accompanied by a music video that demonstrates the appropriate way to dance to any of Dappertons music, World Class Cinema explores a field an accent of sound that has remained untouched. Combining nostalgic elements of 80’s disco with the refined arrangement of current indie new-wave to produce a luscious tune for the newest generation of dance-pop.
The fourth song on the album, Eyes For Ellis, jumps immediately into fast moving lullaby with mumbled lyrics and the classic emotional depth that Dapperton’s vocals are capable of diving into. Continuing on this track of swift paced pitches through nearly the entire ensemble, things start to change three-fourths of the way into the song, coming to close with a what feels like an instrumental breathlessness. These final few minutes carry the sense of the end of a party, of lying down in a field on a cool summer night as it drifts into an emotional collapse and begins to trail off into the same steady beat brought down a few notches.
In the smoothest, most surreal love-song to date, My Favorite Fish requires to listener to step out of reality and allow the music to carry them to a place of tenderness and yearning. While almost every song seems like a demonstration of Dapperton’s vocal range, My Favorite Fish is the prime example of how his whimsical voice can jump between compassionate lows and intensified highs. As an angelic harmony of poetry in boths words and sound, Dapperton has found a place to expand metaphors into moods.
Where Polly People Go to Read, and any of the music carefully hand-crafted and produced by Gus Dapperton, exhibit the transcendental quality he manages to contain. His philosophical lyricism and daring experimentation with a range of sounds reflect an era of evolution in the world of indie pop. Merging physical and audible style into an idealist personality, Gus Dapperton is a man made for the future.