Daphne Loves Derby - On the Strength of All Convinced
Outlook Music Co.
2. Hammers and Hearts
3. A Year on an Airplane
4. Birthday Gallery
5. You Versus the Sea
7. Middle Middle
8. Pollen and Salt
9. If You’re Lucky, No One Will Get Hurt
11. What We Have Been Waiting For
When I think of Daphne Loves Derby, one word comes to mind... hype. Over the past year or so, the buzz surrounding this young talent has gradually gotten louder, as their name has slithered and crawled through and throughout message boards, polls, and even our very own AP.net recommendations. As well, they have garnered over 2 million purevolume plays. Even if you haven’t taken the time to try them out yet, I’m almost positive you recognize their title. A young band, coming out of the Seattle goldmines, and getting publicity from every corner of the internet definitely has something to prove. With one mediocre EP in their pocket, they have taken the inevitable next step, the one which will decide just how buzz-worthy they truly are, in releasing their first full-length effort, On the Strength of All Convinced, clocking in at 11 songs. So I guess the question is... do they live up to the hype?
Let’s break it down! Before receiving this CD, I wouldn’t have ever noted that Daphne Loves Derby have a distinct or idiosyncratic sound. Though much to my surprise, when the intro to the first song, “Sundays”, began to play, I thought instantly, “Hmmm, this is very Daphne Loves Derby sounding.” Despite the fact that it is a piano intro, it definitely transmits that certain soothing melody that DLD suffuse throughout their material. Fans of Casey Bates will be immediately familiar with the production, once again he has created that formidable wall of sound that drowns the listener in music. The Casey Bates phenomenon within a song is that even when there is a mere single note or string being played, the sound is still lavish and profuse, not one sound comes off as lackadaisical.
“Sundays,” is certainly a compelling welcome to the record. The verses are sunny and relaxed with a combination of vocals, piano notes, and melodious guitar floating weightlessly over an attractive bass line and drum beat, and the chorus is large and loud. Interestingly, the bridge presents almost the exact same riff found in “Your Only Escape” by Gatsby’s American Dream. It seems Gatsby’s is truly impacting the Seattle scene these days (check out Goodbye, Tiger and old Surrounded By Lions for further proof.) I digress, singer Kenny does have talent, however, his voice is limited. Irrelevant to the note, his vocals mostly maintain one tone and also lack any real gripping edge. Not to say that they don’t completely fit the music, and they are unarguably melodic and pacifying, but they lack any aspect of captivation or true emotional conveyance. Rarely does he do anything that will surprise you.
The biggest problem with the record lies in the fact that there are a few standout tracks, but the rest are just “pretty good”. DLD are at their best when they spice up the musicianship and diversify the song textures. Scattered throughout the album are several clips where the instrumentals vary or become interesting, and so, these are all the highest points. The single “Hammers and Hearts” really offers nothing to grab your attention, and is pretty much by definition forgettable. “A Year On an Airplane,” contains a few pretty tunes, but the only part that struck me was the bridge. It is not until “You Versus the Sea,” that the music really begins to take character. And then the following track, “Kirby,” is where they hit the climax. It is hard for me to understand how the same band that crafted an impactful and inspiring song like this could have written some of the more bland fabric. From the upbeat, enthralling intro and verse to the musically piquant and attention grabbing chorus, “Kirby,” is the pinnacle of what DLD are capable of.
Scores of music fans across the internet can’t be wrong, and they aren’t. Daphne Loves Derby have all the potential in the world. They stand among bands such as Copeland that can effortlessly mold sensuous musical delights that are catchy as hell. On the Strength of All Convinced has arrived right on time, the sun is shining brighter than ever, and the beauty of this music will perfectly coincide. The mood is light, airy, and relaxed and the songs are guaranteed to leave you feeling the same way. It must be said though, Daphne Loves Derby can do better. There are hints and traces throughout this album that delve into the wonderful music they can conceivably create. Daphne Loves Derby will be an amazing band when those riveting and ambitious snippets become the majority, rather than the minority. So believe the hype, but remember, this band is only just beginning to take flight.
DLD is one of my favorite bands, they just never fail to deliver consistent good sound, without sounding repetitve and/or boring. Also, I think they have some of the best lyrics around, listen to Debussie and you'll swear it's poetry set to music.