Deptford Goth

Life After Defo

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Deptford Goth's wry moniker is the first hint that Daniel Woolhouse's take on melancholy isn't sweeping, melodramatic, and dressed in black, and the bruised electro-pop of his first full-length, Life After Defo, proves that his version of sadness is low-key and almost comfortable. Woolhouse's juxtaposition of sleek electronics with voices and feelings that are all too human calls to mind James Blake and the xx (especially on the spare, twangy "Particles"). However, his music sounds more humble and homespun, even if this album was recorded in a proper studio, a first for Deptford Goth. As moody as it is, Life After Defo cherishes imperfections, from Woolhouse's slightly mush-mouthed delivery to the way things don't always turn out as desired. The album's title track does all of this beautifully, as Woolhouse explores just how powerful missing someone can be ("That's when it takes you apart/Something soon enough where another thing was") over a simple yet stately beat and choral vocals. This is about as anthemic as Life After Defo gets, and Woolhouse spends most of the album finding the comfort in being sad, whether on the bittersweet tumble of "Bronze Age" or the hyper-streamlined "Objects Objects," where his vocals are so soft that it sounds like he's singing to himself. His first-name basis with melancholy is so soothing that it borders on being samey, but he amps things up on "Feel Real" and "Union," both of which show that when Woolhouse brings a little more focus to Deptford Goth's sound, it has even more impact. Similarly, "Lions" is little more than a tantalizing snippet, but it has a boldness and confidence that make it a standout. Like some of his peers, Woolhouse can be a little too subtle for his own good, but on Life After Defo, he's crafted a promising debut with a distinctively cozy take on life's bittersweet moments.

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