Album Review: Gus Dapperton’s Orca

by Groove Girl // PB & Jams

Gus Dapperton is an underrated indie artist on the rise. With his distinctive gravelly voice, effortlessly bold persona, and poetic lyrics, Dapperton took the indie world by storm with his first album Where Polly People Go To Read in 2019. Dapperton’s sophmore album, Orca, was released this past Friday, September 18. Orca came highly anticipated by many fans as he teased its release with a few singles, showcasing a deeper side to Dapperton than did his seemingly carefree bedroom pop love tunes of the past.

Dapperton announced on his Instagram prior to the album’s release that this album was going to be a different sound for him than his previous work, saying, “I used to write a lot about physical things like love and heartbreak and romance and things you can see and envisage, and with this album I’m writing about things that are a lot more internal and deeper inside me, just reflecting on things I feel more vulnerable about.” This change isn’t just evident in the lyrics, but the music style as well. Dapperton trades in his synthesizer for piano and an old guitar, a 1997 vintage Guild, made in the same year that he was born.

As to what he wants his listeners to take from this album, Dapperton said in a recent interview with ICON: “I’ve been saying the motto and the mission statement for the album is that everyone and everything has the ability to hurt. Everyone has the ability to heal, and everyone has the ability to help. It’s me defining what my beliefs are.” 

The tracks from this album are the kind of songs you play in an old hole-in-the-wall somewhere deep in the city. A single spotlight, empty folding chairs, little dust fairies floating around you. The songs you hear in those deep kinds of indie films that touch your soul and make you think existential thoughts, a young actor running down the middle of the road, trying to forget themselves but face it all at the same time. 

The sounds are raw and vulnerable and isolating. Dapperton’s signature voice, grainy and thick with emotion, begging and pleading for a release of his inner self. This album is more consistent in sound and feeling than Where Polly People Go To Read. This is more teeth-grinding indie rock than the sounds he’s been known for–a new era of Gus Dapperton. As he said in a recent interview, he is addicted to change, so we should probably get used to the ever-changing sound Dapperton produces in his future projects. 


Check out Groove Girl on PB & Jams every Wednesday night from 8-10PM, and don’t forget to follow PB & Jams on Instagram. While you’re there, be sure to follow Gus Dapperton, and check out Orca right now on Spotify.