Deptford Goth is actually from Peckham. I don’t know if Peckham is anything like Deptford, I’ve never been to either. But then he also isn’t a goth either. Not unless Goths have suddenly come over all soulful, like Jamie Liddell in a crushed velvet top hat.* The Youth II EP walks a line between slightly sinister, almost a capella vocals and synth washes over clattering, skeletal skittering drums.
Over the course of these four tracks Deptford Goth, builds a distinctive sound, with an arc that builds from first not to last. From very minimal, beginnings to clattering finish with skittering percussion under warm synth washes. No Man sets out the stall well, a capella and slightly sinister. The vocals are front and centre. Real Soul Fantasy builds from here with lovely rising and falling tones ,before Time injects some welcome percussion to the mix.
James Blake is an obvious reference point, but it would be unfair to use this as a term of disparagement. It isn’t a criticism to say that they both have great voices perfectly suited to injecting soul in to sparse arrangements. A kind of sad euphoria pervades this record, the sharp percussive bursts emphasise the quality of the vocals on display here. For the most part the music seems to move around the lyrics, making room for what is really on show here.
As an EP Youth II is by definition short, but tantalisingly so. It plays long enough to give a full sense of what it is that Deptford Goth does, but doesn’t hang around long enough to outstay its welcome. Whether he manages to maintain this level of focus, or listenability over the course of a full length LP is something that only time will tell.
*Of this we cannot be certain, because Deptford Goth’s persona is essentially anonymous.
You can buy the Youth II EP by Deptford Goth from Merok Records.
This article originally appeared on The What Where When on 2 October 2011.