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SINGLE REVIEW: Gus Dapperton - First Aid

Gus begins the road to his sophomore LP with a whole new sound

Gus Dapperton - First Aid (2020 Gus Dapperton / AWAL)

Discovering Gus Dapperton in early 2018 after hearing the brilliant 'Prune, You Talk Funny' crop up on one of my Spotify-curated playlists, I was hooked immediately. His aesthetic, the beats, his unusual tone of voice. He was a standout in a heavily saturated field of wannabe indie stars. His debut LP, Where Polly People Go To Read, however, did not grasp my attention in the way his EPs had. It was a fine effort, but I left feeling that Gus had almost played it safe; he’d stuck with a familiar sound, and the album was just too samey.

Now roll on 2020. A brand new single, 'First Aid.' Okay, this single caught me off guard. Whatever I had been expecting, this was not it.

This track seems like the antithesis to Dapperton’s previous work. He’s traded his usual metaphorical and surreal lyricism for a raw, honest take on his personal struggles with depression and swapped percussive beats and jangly guitars for a simple driving drum and bass section and acoustic guitars. Gus almost speaks the verses, creating an intimate atmosphere, before launching into his iconic gravelly tone in the choruses. Gus’s sister, Amadelle (also a member of his live band), provides lush backing vocals towards the end of the track. Amadelle’s contribution to the track also fits with the lyrical themes, as Gus clearly feels grateful for having his sister throughout his lowest points, albeit lyricising a little on the nose with

I would slit his wrists and reminisce it if it wasn't for my sis.

Sounding like Dapperton’s answer to Clairo’s (incredible) 'Bags' First Aid is a stunning track that left me hungry for more. Rather than recycling a tried-and-tested formula, Gus is further developing his sound and exploring new sonic avenues. Despite being such a drastic departure from his previous sound, he still retains his instantly recognisable tone of voice and intelligent songwriting ability.

This song is an absolutely stellar single, and I truly cannot wait to hear more of his new material.


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James Mellen is a very bored student in his final year of compulsory education, waiting to study music production and performance at degree level. He is passionate about music, guitars and music. He also watches films sometimes.

Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based in South Wales.

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