Del Water Gap: “Del Water Gap” album review – intimate butter-pop indie


Written by:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Aside from a geographical impasse in America, Del Water Gap is also the name of the sorrowful solo project of S. Holden Jaffe.

Currently residing in Brooklyn, his intimate inner workings to romantic encounters and “dimly lit rooms” have elated fans across the West since his self-titled debut back in October last year in 2021.


Led by the buttered pop single, Ode to a Conversation Stuck in your Throat – which garnered attention when actresses Margaret Qualley and Kaitlyn Dever held a virtual dance party over the height of the pandemic – the debut album Del Water Gap is a pivotal moment in charged-up blends of alternative sounds as he tackles desire, jealousy and pure adoration.

A pent-up culmination in how he draws up connection with himself and his music, it has resulted in an eclectic collection of highly-spirited poppy tracks including, Better Than I Know Myself, Alone Together and Sorry I Am. Sharing a dorm room with Maggie Rogers certainly has its perks too, as he works alongside her with emotive stand-alone single, New Song from way back when in college.

An oak-milk-lattes-in-the-mountains kinda vibes, Del Water Gap’s debut work is his ethereal passion for the simple things in life. It’s not an overtly extravagant album, nor it is melodically complex in storytelling and structure. It’s simply not trying to be anything it isn’t. What it is, is an album for one of those moods you find yourself in. You don’t know how you got into this perplexing mood but you often find yourself in deep thought looking off into the distance somewhere or another. An enchanting cross-over between the soundscapes of Phoebe Bridgers and the delicate nature of Amber Run and you’re pretty much halfway there, I’d say.

Sorry I Am and I Hope You Understand is Jaffe at his best. Journal sleuthing, navigating the stickiest of paths in New York, trying to not spill his latte all over his scrawled notes, this is very much an Ode to DWG and his brain all in the form of an outlandishly creative superlative that tries to shake the cobwebs away and beckons you in with its feel-good factor.

Perfume, meanwhile, is very much a love story, stripped bare to witness all. Faded blue jeans, you said you bleached them with your mom / Folded over cuffs as if they were too long / You wrote your number on the label.” As you fall in love on one of those nights, drunkingly weaving in and out of bars in the East Village, imagine Perfume coming on. Undoubtedly so, background music for kissing. It’s borderline cliché and somewhat on the nose, but that’s what you sign up with buttery love-splurge indie pop-rock adoration. It’s “alternative” enough to make a mark on a Harry Styles album but it’s somehow ended up on here instead, a golden nugget of an idea that had seemingly fell down the back of a sofa. Snooze, you lose.

Then you have Hurting Kind, an emotionally-charged work all about learning to live without love – with all its side effects that come with it, “No, it won’t empower me / ‘Til it kills us, we can live a lie / If we ignore it, we can be fine / If we learn our love is the hurting kind / I’ll let it devour me.” A song charged with pent-up jealousy and frustrations, the song features drastic fuzziness in its concept, almost as if we – who is still in love – is and will always be, confused about it all.

Point is, every song has its own chapter. In the story of coasting through in your ’20s, flinging from one love lust to another, Del Water Gap has all the pointers enthused into a 42-minute pocket book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Latest Stories

%d bloggers like this: