Release Date: Nov 4, 2014
Record label: 37 Adventures
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Since bobbing off and leaving behind the streets of South East London for sunny, sandy Margate, Daniel Woolhouse seems to have a happier, more confident disposition. Without wanting to stretch his new-found Margatification too far, ‘Songs’ sounds like a warmer, sunnier record, too. Finally comfortable with minimalism, Woolhouse is surely the only one left underestimating his sound.
Life After Defo, last year’s debut by Deptford Goth, AKA Daniel Woolhouse, was a state-of-the-art fusion of Bon Iver and dubstep that was at times impressive if a little too polished. Its follow-up occupies similar territory, though Songs adds substance to atmosphere. Woolhouse ruminates on parenthood and love while the music moves at its own stately pace.
Deptford Goth may sound like the chat room name of a socially marginalised South London teenager desperate to engage with fellow outsiders, but the man behind the moniker, Daniel Woolhouse, has little in common with acolytes of black eyeliner, Victorian lace and The Sisters of Mercy. Instead, Woolhouse proved on his 2013 debut record Life After Defo that he is a skilled exponent of that still rare commodity; electronic music with a warm, beating heart. Following hot on the heels of critically worshipped fellow metropolis residents James Blake and The xx, Deptford Goth’s sound is in many ways similar to both, yet still with its own identity.
Since baring his soul on his 2013 debut, Life After Defo, Daniel Woolhouse has married. The UK producer and singer known as Deptford Goth has a penchant for the bleaker side of pop, and he shows that in spades with his second album, Songs, proving that a happy union doesn’t necessarily result in happy music. But, much like a comedian with a newborn, there’s a wealth of material to draw upon if you’re a songwriter in love.
Londoner Daniel Woolhouse weaves a strange mix of sad and sunny on his second LP as Deptford Goth, the woozy electronica act he first debuted in 2010. Throughout a smattering of singles, an EP, and 2013's Life After Defo, he has developed subtly, ranging from abstract glitchy tones to the more soulful dreaminess of his debut. On Songs, he seems to have found his groove, offering up 11 tracks of pleasingly languid melancholia and sunset-gazing dream pop.
Daniel Woolhouse, aka Deptford Goth, gained something of a cult following for his 2011 debut Life After Defo. Its slow, contemplative production added emphasis to lyrics of heartache and family issues, all the while sounding somehow thoroughly expansive despite the intimate nature of Woolhouse's vocals. .
In his video for recent single 'Two Hearts', Deptford Goth stands at the edge of a beach on the cusp of a sunset. Shots of emerging, lazy waves flicker upon the screen as he stares to the floor, immersed in thought and seemingly subconsciously uttering the lyrics. "Some of the parts of who we are, A life greater than what we do, But it's never going to come straight to you, And it's never going to leave you alone" he says, before layers of whispering vocals summon claps, surging piano chords and echoing strums.
For an album about marriage, Deptford Goth's Songs rings as lonely as breakup debris. The second LP from UK-based singer and producer Daniel Woolhouse, Songs isn't quite the folksy confessional its title implies. This isn't Songs of Daniel Woolhouse; you won't find a "So Long, Marianne" in its ranks. Instead, Songs—maybe titled so simply as recompense for last year's punny Life After Defo—winds in tender and occasionally cathartic circles, focusing on the fears that accompany an intimacy that's supposed to be permanent.
Deptford Goth, aka Daniel Woolhouse, seems a man torn between stylistic directions. In the best moments of his back catalogue, such as “Union” from 2013’s Life After Defo, he has worked this genrelessness to his advantage, melding delicate, R&B-informed songwriting with insistent beats and subtly inventive electronic textures. He’s far from the first to combine these musical disciplines; How To Dress Well plies a fine trade in leftfield R&B, and closer to home, the fellow South East London-based James Blake mixes soul and dubstep in Mercury-winning style.
Songs, the sophomore LP from Daniel Woolhouse under the Deptford Goth moniker, finds the London producer audibly shifting his focus to songwriting. The result, which pushes his vocals closer to the front of the mix and his lyrics to the main stage, is a beautiful and quietly hopeful work of smooth, soulful electro-pop. Opening track Relics is an uplifting but understated tune, whose simplistic driving beat, warm synth beds and off-kilter closing guitar starts the record on a high note.