Life After Defo

Deptford Goth

Merok Records, 2013

http://www.deptfordgoth.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/19/2013

Daniel Woolhouse was a former elementary school teacher whose nighttime hobby was working on electronic music, and he chose the moniker Deptford Goth for no reason other than he liked the sound of it. While his music is certainly haunting in some areas, that's where any goth resemblance ends. A well-rounded musician and producer, he has created a very unique listen of wispy R&B electronica with countless other influences tied up in lush and soulful arrangements on this first effort.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Immediately, Woolhouse sets an ethereal tone here with dreamy landscapes and experimental ideas that shift from light to dark. Whereas many similar outfits try to cram as many instruments into a song, Woolhouse seems content focusing on sparse synth, clever guitar lines, and his breathy voice that rarely hovers above a whisper. This approach makes for a very mysterious yet also alluring listen that becomes more addictive with each subsequent spin.

The lead off and title track “Life Beyond Defo” doesn't waste anytime getting into a mesmerizing mood, complete with fleeting melodies, occasional bells, and a blurry, hazy vibe. While this pensive atmosphere is present all the way through, tracks like "Bronze Age" and "Guts No Glory" are especially emotive. “Lions,” which comes later on in the disc, also follows a similar path, though is even more stripped-down with calm pianos and creative guitar work.  The volume and intensity does occasionally fluctuate, with “Feel Real” showing a burst of upbeat pop and “Union” brimming with indie rock influences. 

This is minimalism at its finest. From synth driven and universally catchy like “Years” to soothing songs like the closer “Bloody Lip,” Deptford Goth balances hushed textures with a lo-fi bedroom pop feel. Sure, it's often a bleak listen, sounding like the soundtrack to late night mulling, though standout tracks like “Particles” with its sunnier disposition show much versatility. Sounding similar to artists like James Blake or even Radiohead's quieter moments, Deptford Goth has secured a place as a highly engaging newcomer to the electro-pop scene.

Rating: B+

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© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Merok Records, and is used for informational purposes only.