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Monday 18 December 2017

All hail the healing soul of Deptford Goth

Deptford Goth Songs (37 Adventures)

As dependable as the first frosts of winter, music industry elves shower us with all manner of dubious collections in the festive season run-in.

For example, anxious to make a buck on what hucksters call the "gifting market", Eminem's label offers SHADYXV, a double CD promising the label's "greatest hits and all new material". You want to fork out for a bunch of tracks by Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse plus a few old tracks by 50 Cent that even your granny probably has at this stage? Some pimply kid reaching puberty in Poughkeepsie possibly does.

But hearing the old codger Mathers himself banging on about maybe raping Iggy Azalea, well, it's all a bit pathetic. Even Iggy thinks so. "I'm bored of the old men threatening young women as entertainment trend . . . zzz," she tweeted. Mr Shady is 42 and, by all accounts, out of his nappies. (Diapers, if his homies are reading this online.)

So, saying "Ah, here . . !", we move on to 11 new songs from Daniel Woolhouse who trades as the aforementioned Deptford Goth (below).

"The rhythm of life is an irregular beat," he sings on Relics, the album's opening track, which builds from a clattering drum machine and synth-wash intro. But not too much.

restraint

There's a sense of great restraint on these songs. As if Daniel has discovered the mantra "less is more". There's also a sensation of sadness. And I'll only mention Bon Iver this once, just to hint that Justin Vernon could easily be considered John the Baptist to Daniel's lo-fi Jesus.

These ruminations on love and life come at a stately pace and are delivered in a poignant quiet storm soul vocal. There's a sense of awareness that, as George Harrison put it, all things must pass. But lyrically, Daniel prefers to string together little koans of wisdom that sound like they floated into his head while contemplating a cornflake box the morning after the night before.

The results are pretty and beguiling. "I wanted people to hear the lyrics," he says, explaining why he kept things sparse and the vocal up front in the plinky-plonky keyboard-dominated mix.

On the skeletal and arresting The Lovers he sounds like a particularly somnambulant Marvin Gaye. "We make babies to watch them grow. Teach them what we know and then we let them go," he intones through a meditative fog.

He's a long way from emulating Marvin's Sexual Healing main course but, a year on from his debut Life After Defo, Woolhouse is perfecting a recipe for minimalist soul atop a trembling bed of fragile electronica with a puree of smoked melancholia.

This is ideal Deptford Goth weather. This is his season. And Songs will no doubt become the perfect recuperative soundtrack for those suffering pangs of regret following some shenanigans during the upcoming party season.

Be it an ill-advised or broken romance or a dispiriting public eggnog meltdown, Deptford Goth is here to help you survive. HHHII

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