Deptford Goth

Songs

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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. His commitment to sadness is almost reassuring, and like Stephin Merritt or Morrissey he seems more at home when woeful, as his wry, goth-acknowledging moniker would indicate. With his pensive, slightly broken tenor, he resembles at times a mumbling Owen Pallett minus the ambitious orchestrations or a British Justin Vernon when he uses his falsetto. Full of open space, Songs largely relies on warm, burbling piano and synth chords stitched together with spare beats and subtly stacked vocals. Never urgent, Woolhouse takes his time with calming, hopeful tracks like "Do Exist," "Code," and the almost hymn-like "A Circle." It's a solitary world to get lost in and much of the album feels like the singer's own soundtrack to a long walk through the city at sunset. It has a quiet sort of energy, and his mix of doleful elegance and sensuousness creates a strong atmosphere. But even as it ties itself together well, there isn't a lot of variety on Songs. Possibly too understated, Woolhouse could benefit from more pronounced changes and variations in his writing, but taken as a whole Songs is a warmly rendered mood piece full of layers and quiet yearning.

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