With his debut album, Daniel Woolhouse (A.KA. Deptford Goth) has found that place on the sonic spectrum where R&B/soul vocals play perfectly off sparse beats and ethereal synths. Life after Defo is a lesson in dreamy pop at its most chilled-out, and despite lyrics of despair and melancholic yearning the twinkling production and glistening soundscapes sometimes manage to elate rather than depress.
Woolhouse has described his music as, “sitting somewhere between real and synthetic”, and it certainly is, with electronic sounds that have a raw, almost mechanical edge to them, yet given heart by Woolhouse’ very much down-to-earth admissions. On tracks like Deepest it’s easy to see the James Blake comparisons that have been bandied around Deptford Goth since his emergence in 2011. They both have a knack for making their voices hide and emerge between beats, sounding distant but at the same time intimate (if that makes sense). Particles see’s the Peckham producer at his most XX-like with similar minimalist beats, while Years brings to mind a more expansive and adventurous King Krule.
Life after Defo has its peak on Union, with a vocal hook that speaks of the home-like peace of being with those you feel comfortable with, “I belong with everyone, everyone I’ve ever known, is here with me…”. It fades out with a delicate harp line that gives the human aspect to his theory of ‘between real and synthetic’.
Despite an ever-increasing number of brilliant electro-soul artists around at the moment like Rhye and the aforementioned James Blake, on Life after Defo Deptford Goth still manages to find an extra element to add to the genre.