‘Don’t Get Dark’ by Del Water Gap is well worth the wait

Three singles released. Two years in the making. One glorious collection of songs.

These are the only ways I know how to quantify Don’t Get Dark, the newest release from Del Water Gap, or Brooklyn-based artist named S. Holden Jaffe. As someone who has been listening to DWG since I was 15, my expectations were more than exceeded with the recent release of Don’t Get Dark.

The EP consists of six songs, three of which were released as singles over the past few months. While I would normally get sick of the singles by the EP release date, Del Water Gap manages to compile all six songs into a coherent piece of art, not a collection of sporadic recordings. Each song tells a story, but manages to contribute to the general tone and sound of the EP as a whole.

It’s easy to think that all Del Water Gap’s music sounds the same. And it is true that the folk rock sound doesn’t go away, but with careful listening, each song starts to develop its own personality, its own story that can’t be confused with any other. Slow songs build up to a powerful culmination, enough to bring any human being to tears at times.

All of Del Water Gap’s music is honest and emotional. But Don’t Get Dark took that to a whole new level, with lyrics so personal I felt like I was reading someone else’s diary. The lyrics are sprinkled with subtle elements of love songs, but still introspective and sometimes thought-provoking.

The stories told by Don’t Get Dark may be someone else’s, but the feelings they invoke are universal.

Jaffe’s crooning voice combined with the deep, sometimes heart-wrenching lyrics establishes Del Water Gap as a paradigm of indie romance and true human emotion. “I’ve got songs to hide behind until the feelings pass / It ain’t much of a life / But maybe once or twice / I’ve felt magic touching pen to paper in my time,” he sings on “Chastain,” an example of his unexpectedly intriguing lyricism.

Don’t Get Dark is music to listen to by candlelight, with cicadas in the background as inner thoughts creep in. This EP will force you to think about yourself, your relationships, and the way your mom looked when she was younger. Del Water Gap sounds like winter, but Don’t Get Dark feels like one of the few warm February nights.

It’s hard to live up to hype after two years of radio silence, especially after going solo. But Holden Jaffe has proved that Del Water Gap is still in good hands, and that the only way is up.