New band of the day – No 1,084: Deptford Goth

Daniel Woolhouse's winning mix of spectral R&B and dubstep pop is worth a listen – just don't expect Bauhaus meets Burial

Hometown: South London.

The lineup: Daniel Woolhouse (music, vocals).

The background: Deptford Goth is a solo artist from Peckham, and we have no idea why he didn't opt for Peckham Goth, because it would be no more or less appropriate considering the sound he makes. Put it this way, it's not goth, unless we are to use that genre as a catch-all term to denote "mysterious" and "dark", which this music sort of is, although there are several indications that it comes from that part of south-east London, if indeed we are to accept that area as dubstep's home.

Anyhoo, the project is called Deptford Goth, which Woolhouse began in late 2010, when he decided to "fuse his songwriting roots in guitar and piano with a more electronic approach". Sound familiar? That's probably because it reads rather a lot like James Blake's – and Jamie Woon's – backstory. Well, a lot of people's backstory, but those south London boys in particular. His debut EP, Youth II, is due in October, and we already knew it was going to be half-decent because it's being released by Merok, the label that brought us Klaxons, Crystal Castles, Salem, Active Child, Teengirl Fantasy and Titus Andronicus. Apart from Klaxons, who had already been around for too long to feature when we started this column in December 2006, we have covered every one of these acts in New Band of the Day, which suggests either that Merok has great taste, or that we're on its payroll. Or both. Actually, only one is true (we said, zipping up our Merok hoodie to conceal our Merok T-shirt and scarf).

The Youth II EP comprises four tracks that have elements in common with the spectral R&B we love (Holy Other, How to Dress Well), the dubstep pop of Messrs Blake and Woon, synthesiser music in general, and the blustery dance-rock of Merok mainman Milo Cordell's own outfit, Big Pink. One reviewer has decided that "it's all very Tokyo, as if Deptford Goth has chosen to score one of Yasujiro Ozu's moments of delicate emotion and in doing so has drenched it in glorious Technicolor cherry blossom", a reference so arty and obscure it almost makes us cry. Opener No Man, like most of DG's songs, features Woolhouse on tremulous vibrato – so tremulous and vibrato, in fact, that we can't tell if his voice has been Auto-Tuned or if that's his diaphragm in action. Towards the end, this slo-mo ghost-soul tune quickens in pace and a military tattoo is accompanied by swathes of synth and oodles of ooh-oohs. Real Love Fantasy's melody recalls Foreigner's Waiting for a Girl Like You, the first time such a phenomenon has occurred since last Friday. This time, the voice appears to have been fed through a vocoder, the gizmo that Peter Frampton, with ingenious timing, decided to make his own at the dawn of punk. Time features plenty of wob-wob-wobbly dubstep bass, lashings of cymbals, and synths so glacial we are tempted to describe them as majestic. Which leaves the title track to provide the final moment of dubsteppy sci-fi noir with cyber-R&B vocals. Mr Cordell, we believe a Merok tracksuit and matching trainers are in order.

The buzz: "A perfect take on the hypnogogic and spectral R&B world to which we've all come happily accustomed over the past year" –

The truth: Sisters of Mercy meet Skream this ain't. Good, though.

Most likely to: Inspire a spate of London district/genre name mash-ups – next, Catford Disco.

Least likely to: Release a double live album.

What to buy: The Youth II EP is released by Merok on 17 October.

File next to: James Blake, Holy Other, Jai Paul, Big Pink.


Tuesday's new band: Hanni El Khatib.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

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