Label: Warner Music Group
Released: 7th July 2023
Gus Dapperton’s third album doesn’t start at the beginning; the dramatic tension that grips the opening track on ‘HENGE’ feels as though you’ve been dropped into the midst of a film at its most pivotal moment. Everything is on the line, heightened and dripping in enough 80s synth to completely transport you, Back to the Future-style, into this world of Gus’s creation. We’re in the thick of things now, and there’s no turning back.
There’s also, it seems, no slowing down. ‘HENGE’ is a full-pelt rush of melodrama, deliriously good beats and after-hours revelry. ‘Horizons’ is a dancefloor banger that’s mystifyingly filled with melancholia. ‘The Stranger’ is a similarly angst-ridden bop – it’s all cheerful beats paired with yearning, aching vocals. It makes those emotions a bit more palatable, leaving you free to exorcise them with every dance under the moonlight.
He broods on ‘Lights’, but ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ is far more earnest. His second collaboration with BENEE, the track is flooded by sheer groove, guitars that scratch an itch and once again fulfil that insatiable need to dance that the album inspires. It’s truly an invitation to leave all your sorrows on the dancefloor in the twilight hours. His particular brand of alt-pop is one to get lost in, one your limbs can’t help but respond to. The tension that was wound so tightly upon the album’s introduction soon dissipates, all those worries lost in music.
On ‘HENGE’, Gus Dapperton creates a world where every darker thought, every vulnerable moment, can be uncovered through movement and release. There’s freedom in this introspective version of Gus, and in the twilight of this night-time world he crafts, there is light to be found.