Gaffer Project is one of the hardest working DIY bands out right now. The duo from Roanoke, Virginia recently booked a six-week, full US tour in support of their new album, “Slowknife: A Study of Fear.” The record is coming out through New Breed Collective, a freshly formed coalition of musicians and artists involved in the DIY scene throughout Virginia and North Carolina.
Gaffer Project’s sound is difficult to pin down, but it is uniquely their own. The album opens with a slow, moody piano and string intro before Jordan Doyle’s hoarse vocals burst from the speakers. The next track, “David,” previously appeared on a live album along with the title track, and both have been staples in their live sets for a good while now.
“David” is a great representation of Gaffer Project’s incredibly dynamic sound, beginning with a sparse guitar melody and tense vocals, then erupting into a roar of distorted bass. Drummer Christian Holliday enters with a thunderous tom beat, then transitions into a full kit bludgeoning. After the initial outburst winds down, they begin to peel back the layers until all that is left is the piano backing track that had been floating in the background. Suddenly, they’re back at it in full force. The rest of the album continues this pattern of tension and release, enveloping the listener in its massive ebbs and flows.
- A Little More Gaffer Project 1:31
- David Gaffer Project 2:35
- Changed Gaffer Project 3:11
- A Hardened Heart Gaffer Project 3:28
- Dying Gaffer Project 2:52
- Without Gaffer Project 2:58
- A Father Gaffer Project 4:26
- Slowknife Gaffer Project 3:41
- Sinks In Gaffer Project 1:19
The production on this record is a perfect representation of the band’s live sound. You can feel the force of each one of Holliday’s overhead hits, and the rumble of Doyle’s bass lies on your chest like the weight of the fears he attempts to throw off through his lyrics. Obviously the visual element is missing, but one can easily imagine Doyle triggering the lights on his cabs at the pivotal moment of release. For a self-funded band that tours as often as Gaffer Project, it can be difficult to invest the time and money necessary to produce such a high quality recording, but this one could easily stand up to something produced with the support of a big name label.
Gaffer Project has many qualities that make them unique, but the heart of the band is Doyle’s lyrics. Deeply poetic and brutally honest, he lays out his fears and insecurities one after the other. In the process of writing the album, Doyle made a list of all his fears and expounded on them in each song. His throaty bellow is a force in its own right, and when combined with the weighty instrumentals, they create an intensely cathartic experience.
With the release of this album, Gaffer Project has established themselves as one of the most unique and hard working bands in the southeast. Their incessant touring on the DIY circuit has put their name out nationwide, and this album is expected to open new doors for them. They may be under the radar right now, but Gaffer Project will certainly be a band to watch closely.