(self-released, out now)
There are several genres that naturally spring to mind when thinking about Scottish musicians, the likes of folk and indie being foremost. Reggae is not one of them. This is just one element of what makes the The HD Project (a.k.a. Peter Dyer a.k.a Henry Davis) unique. Another is his unconventional start in life, having been born in Holloway Prison, London, before being adopted in Scotland.
The HD Project’s debut EP is not purely a reggae record though, as it draws from multiple other genres, particularly hip-hop and blues rock over the course of the EP’s seven tracks. This is highlighted from the off on lead single Buzzin’ Pt. 1 which sounds very much like a modern hip-hop record but with added reggae and ska flavours. The track comes complete with a catchy piano hook and hummable chorus and it is easy to see why Dyer picked it as the lead track.
That’s not to say the rest of the EP is not good though. Far from it. There are some other strong efforts to be found here. Chief amongst them is Watersedge: a song which sounds like a classic bluesy Hendrix track done with a modern twist, as Dyer adds a trap element to it. It feels like it shouldn’t work but somehow does. The other blues-based track aptly named These Blues is also a decent effort.
For all the HD Project’s genre-mixing there are some more straightforward reggae tunes in Y.O, Ghost Train and I Pity the Fool. From these three it is the latter, which of course references B.A. Baracus, that is by far the strongest. The other two, while pleasant enough, feel somewhat generic and slight, certainly in comparison to other tracks.
The EP ends with Buzzin Pt. 2, the slowed down, melancholic, trip-hoppy version of the opener. It is a soulful and entrancing track and a good way to close out a debut collection that while a little short of excellent, certainly marks The HD Project as an interesting and eclectic talent to keep an eye out for in the future.