Album Review: Dude Safari – YUSSUS

Surrey grunge-pop outfit Dude Safari showcase their energetic and fuzzy charm on their full length

Since their 2021 emergence with their debut single ‘Bug Hunter’, Surrey grunge-pop outfit Dude Safari¬†have been growing in acclaim and reverence, winning over the hearts and minds of listeners and tastemakers alike for their energetic and unique sound, and this has culminated with the release of their debut album YUSSUS.

The album opens with the thoughtful ‘Lead Ballon’, a track driven by its pounding drums and subversive, alternative roots. Themes of sadness and having a lack of direction permeate the track, with its bleak imagery providing a stark contrast the the energy and impactful nature of the sound. This is followed by classic Dude Safari track ‘Bug Hunter’, the first ever single from the outfit and the album, originally released by the outfit back in March 2021. The track’s titanic guitar riffs and infectious vocal melodies stick to you incessantly. Fuzzy guitars and larger than life hooks are a staple of this album, and are already hallmark of Dude Safari and their signature sound.

‘Maybe It’s a UFO’ highlights a more measured and restrained side to their sound, albeit with the same levels of fuzz and the tendency to break off into the odd wave of guitars. ‘Big Worse’ and ‘I’m No Good (At Any Sports) see the band leaning into their Weezer-esque tendencies, making self-deprecating and hopeless feel as fun and catchy as the LA natives ever did, always feeling on the cusp of falling into recklessly heavy territory while staying afloat with this effortless sense of poppy charm and sweetness throughout.

‘Doom & Bloom’ was the breakout moment for the band and it is easy to see why, with the outfit’s poppy charm sitting awkwardly alongside its moody, grungy core, making for a track that wouldn’t feel out of place on Basement’s classic 2012 LP Colourmeinkindness.

‘Born To Lose’ is a track that seems to take its melancholy nature and moodiness to almost Nirvana levels, with its brooding melodies and the apathetic reluctance of the vocals, it makes for a really interesting contrast to some of the album’s more explosive moments, and highlights the range of Dude Safari and their approach to songwriting.

Tracks like ‘Treading Water’ and ‘Godzilla’ bring the energy levels back up a notch, with the latter possessing what are possibly the most memorable riffs on the album, that feeling like something from a Royal Blood or Cleopatrick track, effortlessly packed full of punch and groove in equal measure. The track just seems to mutate and grow the longer that it gets on, always engaging, always razor sharp, and easily the highlight of the album.

There are more moments of bouncy fun and killer, fuzzed out riffs on ‘I’ll Entertain Ya’, but the track has this restrained feeling of caution throughout, leaning more on its melodic, thoughtful side to craft a sound that continues to reassert this sense of scope and diversity that their sound has.

The most startling showcase of this however, lies in the albums closer, ‘Until I Disappear’. A track that builds slowly, initially with just guitar and vocals before rising in intensity and anticipation. It takes about three minutes, but eventually the track gives way to this huge wall of catharsis and nose and energy, making for a great climatic moment for the album to sign off on. Reminding us of exactly what Dude Safari are best at and just how superbly they excel at it.

This is an album that is absolutely loaded with great moments, the outfit’s marriage of the melodicism and charm of pop with the darkness, edge and explosive energy of alternative rock and grunge makes for a sound that has so much scope to explore and experiment, and the outfit traverse the confines of this sound throughout the album, making for a tonne of interesting moments while never straying too far from their signature, invariably catchy fuzziness.