Since unleashing his debut record in 2010, UK producer Doc Daneeka (a.k.a. Mial Watkins) has certainly made his rounds in the bassier end of the UK's house scene. In addition to racking up his own releases on outposts like Ramp and Roska Kicks and Snares, Watkins has sponsored efforts from the likes of Julio Bashmore and xxxy on his own Ten Thousand Yen imprint. His latest work and debut on 2020 Midnight Visions, the Sketches of You EP, finds him going deeper and stripping back the drum-heavy sounds of his past solo efforts, but also demonstrates that his talent for creating infectious, hand-raising house bombs remains intact; for instance, it's hard not to tap a foot or bob along to the bouncing rhythm and flickering organ stabs on "Just Say the Words."
At the same time, while the tracks on Sketches of You are effective, lively, and solid, not much distinguishes them from the seemingly endless supply of like-minded releases from Doc Daneeka's peers. Each tune is cut from a similar cloth, with whirring synths, soaring diva vocals, and vertical drops into fat, grooving basslines. It's an appealing formula, which serves him well on "Day By Day," a song that builds swirling synths and punchy percussion into pockets of silence that explode into hearty bass and throaty wailing. Those energetic dynamics are also at work on "Everyday," which deteriorates into woozy, surging breakdowns. Without question, Sketches of You has some quality offerings, but the EP falls short of being a truly distinctive effort. It's by no means a poor showing, but Doc Daneeka is an artist with the chops to make killer tunes, and at times, the songs here are merely functional.