Daphne Loves Derby - Good Night, Witness Light
Record Label: Outlook Records
Release Date: March 27, 2007
Daphne Loves Derby returns with their second full-length, Good Night, Witness Light, an album chock-full of indiepop-fueled musical arrangements and Truman Show references. The indie-rock 3-piece hailing from Seattle wowed many with Outlook Records debut, On The Strength of All Convinced, a poppy summer record brimming with fun lyrics and seasonal keepers.
Kenny Choi's vocals simply deliver, especially in desert-themed "Cue the Sun." His relatively high-pitched (and almost nasally) voice is soothing and crisp. As musicianship goes, Choi and Co. are very artistic and skillful, and this shows throughout the album. Many have compared the band to Copeland, and yes, it is clear that Daphne look toward Copeland as a definite influence, but not to the point where the band "tries to act like" them. Lyrically, as well as musically, the album is very much darker than the relatively bright debut. Choi shines lyrically in songs like "Cue the Sun," "Iron in the Backseat," and "Hows it Going to End." What Choi employs best in his lyrics is imagery, which is an important part of how the song comes off to a listener.
The album is clean throughout with very smooth and clear production. The album opens with guitar-driven "Stranger You and I" and drum-and-bass groovy "Iron in the Backseat." "No One Is Convinced" picks-up with a booming chorus, but the album is somewhat interrupted by "Marching Band Intro." I applaud Daphne for the idea, and how it leads up to the next track with a similar intro, but overall it disrupts the flow that Witness Light is trying to create. The album goes on with "To Struggle With Light Colors," an extremely impressive song filled with a vibrant melody and bass and drum back-drop. Next comes acoustic "Cue the Sun" and upbeat winter ballads "Miniature Christmas Tree" and "Love & Mercy."
Daphne is very creative with Witness Light, incorporating various instruments such as the harmonica, French horn, banjo, accordion, cello, harp, and many others. It is very different from their first release: it's darker, better produced, and more creative in terms of how each song is crafted. The album, despite its differences, is definitely catchy. The problem Daphne seemed to have with the album is not that the songs were generic, but that there was room for more diversity (not necessarily creativity).
Daphne may not have crafted the best sophomore effort, but they've undoubtedly taken a step in the right direction. Daphne are still young and in their prime, but they are destined for something incredible. Witness Light is certainly a sign of progress and maturity for the band, which will only lead them closer to future success.