Where Polly People Go to Read is an album that glimpses into the wonderful, and sometimes weird, world of Gus Dapperton, one of the most talked about bedroom indie pop artists emerging right now. Gus Dapperton has definitely taken his time releasing his first LP. After releasing his debut single ‘Moodna, Once With Grace’ back in 2016, followed by two EPs and an abundance of singles in between, it definitely feels that the ten track LP, Where Polly People Go to Read, is long over-due.
The phrase “simple yet effective” is one Gus Dapperton has seemingly adopted throughout this album. Every song consists of a straightforward drum beat, a strong bassline and a catchy hook. The variation in songs comes largely from his vocals throughout, where Gus really proves his vocal versatility. One of Gus’ main talents is the wacky and often uncoherent stories he tells through his lyrical tales, with every listen offering a new perspective to interpret his wayward lyrics. Although despite this talent Gus is still struggling to find his place in the harsh reality of the music industry, with him even stating himself ‘I’m a lot of words for a wannabe.’
The album opens with the deep, yet upbeat, bass lines of ‘Verdigris’. This song feels like the door opening to Gus’ weird and wonderful mind, and definitely grabs the attention of listeners into the album after just a handful of the opening bass lines.
Where the Polly People go to Read is an album that could definitely be viewed as a journey through Gus’ mind, using his past relationships to subtly describe troubles he faced. Take the track ‘Nomadicon’ which Gus reflects on past relationships: ‘I hated that I hurt you just for fun / it tasted like the perfect medicine.’
After ‘Nomadicon’ comes the upbeat electronic ‘Eyes for Ellis’. With a sound resembling tracks from the recent The 1975 album, this song seems to sound out a manic period for Gus as he addresses his insecurities in a relationship. The repetitiveness of the line ‘away from me’ seems to continuously reiterate Gus’ anxieties as if they are churning round and round in his head like a record. The slowdown of the song at the end really does seem to symbolise Gus’ reflection after his manic episode. This is also clear in the closing lines ‘I can’t hide the doubt since you found me / It’s all sound but it’s always sounding wrong’.
Later in the album there is a definite change of tune as Gus seemingly enters a world of love. The track ‘Coax & Botany’ opens with smooth jangly guitar chords strumming to an easy beat with Gus singing ‘We won’t stop laughing, legs overlapping / I could die with your eyes open at me’. This romanticism continues on tracks like ‘Favourite Fish’ where Gus gushes over his girlfriend through the day-dreamy lyrics ‘I don’t usually fall in love / I’m not used to falalala’.
Overall, this is an album showcasing the best of Gus Dapperton’s talents. Having written, recorded, produced and mixed this album almost entirely on his own, this album feels both unique and personal to Gus, as well as adding a more sophisticated sound to his already ridiculously catchy songs. This album was definitely long overdue, but personally, I think it was well worth the wait.