Album Reviews

Gaffa Bandana: Fraught in Waves – “hazardous fury”

Gill Dread and Jennie Howell team up for something remarkable on their debut release.

In the realm of new music in Britain over the last 12 months, or more specifically heavy music, London’s Bruxa Maria released the finest of the bunch with The Maddening.

Bruxa Maria are spearheaded by Gill Dread, whose performance on The Maddening was nothing short of extraordinary. So good, you wonder where a band could reach to after releasing something so imperative.

In Dread‘s case, the answer is to look further afield and with Gaffa Banda, her new project alongside Brighton’s Jennie Howell (SO3EK, Sleeping Creatures) the duo combine for their debut, Fraught in Waves – something that’s every bit The Maddening‘s equal.

Produced by Tim Cedar of Part Chimp, Fraught in Waves carries the ruthless sonic commotion that its title suggests (a bit like The Maddening, in truth).

Bruxa Maria interview: “One should not have to like someone’s art before they can see or accept the value it has to others”

Breakage possesses the type of vertigo drones that Swans dispense in the live arena. It’s hazardous fury with Dread‘s searing vocals demanding the listen to lock-in.

Howell‘s dislocated hip-hop drum patterns flit between an avalanche of noise on Charm Offensive – a song that hits its targets at every time of asking.

Gaffa Bandana - Fraught In Waves

Gill‘s disgusted howls during Paralysis of Will and the Mike Patton-inspired hairpin turns during Evil Whispers sees her expanding the repertoire beyond pure noise-making. On the latter track in particular, Howell‘s snare and cymbal work find new fissures for her band mate to fill.

Then there’s the title track and closer in One Wage Away. Thundering hot currents of white-noise that paralyse the senses. If there’s a better ode to punk, noise-rock and sludge metal to be written this year, then it most certainly will be worth the wait. However, we should stress that you might be waiting for a long time…

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It’s an emphatic way to end such a bruising, stimulating encounter. Gaffa Banda pummel with uninhibited rage on Fraught in Waves – one of the most exciting collaborations to emerge from the U.K. punk scene for quite some time.

With the combustible wrath of Fraught in Waves, Gaffa Bandana have delivered the first visceral message of 2021.

Fraught in Waves is out now via Human Worth. Purchase from Bandcamp.       

All profits from the sales of this album go to mental great charily, Mind, to help support those in crisis.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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