An artist at peace with himself and his talent.
Label: 37 Adventures
Released: October 28th 2016
‘What’s That Sound?, the first album by songwriter and producer Daniel Woolhouse outwith his Deptford Goth persona, is a thing of subtle wonder. Setting aside the established tropes of Deptford Goth in favour of a wider and more expansive musical palette the album finds Woolhouse blossoming as a singer, musician and lyricist.
There’s an affecting honesty throughout the album as Woolhouse imbues his carefully layered musical patters into a graceful tapestry. You can immediately get a feeling of warmth and hidden depths on the gently exultant opening track ‘Crazy Water’, featuring backing vocals from Rebecca Taylor of Slow Club.
There’s always been an emotional directness to Woolhouse’s work but here, under his own name, it’s less stark and isolated. These songs slowly envelop and worm their way into your consciousness. It’s an album full of lovely details, for example, the intricate weaving guitar lines on glorious ballad ‘Dreamt I Was A Ceramicist Too’.
A highlight of the record is Woolhouse’s deep and expressive croon, which figures prominently on all the songs. It’s a sign of and increased confidence as the musician takes his music to more expansive chapters. The songs are completed by brass sounds and gospel influences to make everything feel a little bit bigger but even more intimate. It’s a clever trick.
Like his albums as Deptford Goth, there is still fragility and melancholy within these songs but it’s tempered by frequent bursts of joy and celebratory flourishes culminating in the crescendo of closing track ‘Forest Further’.
Despite gaining success and establishing a persona with Deptford Goth there’s a good reason why this album is coming out under his own name. The album is the work of an artist at peace with himself and his talent making something that bears close relation to his past work but is even more ambitious. Martyn Young