Daphne Loves Derby - On The Strength Of All Convinced (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Daphne Loves Derby

On The Strength Of All Convinced (2005)


At their core, Seattle's Daphne Loves Derby is a fairly derivative, slow-tempoed emo pop outfit. Granted, that's probably rather fitting since the band's most famous trait is having been one on the first bands on purevolume to garner a million listens. While this description is bound to arm potential listeners with assault-ready Q-Tips and pre-cringe preparation, On The Strength Of All Convinced is actually a pretty tolerable effort from the young trio (aged 18-20 a head); but that isn't to say it's without its problems.

The band doesn't seem to reach too far back for influence, but luckily, they at least remain, for the most part, inspired by the more talented/enjoyable acts of their style. The vocals and resulting harmonies are definitely comparable to fellow Washingtonians and tourmates This Providence (production from Casey Bates, who did the TP full-length, likely contributes to the effect), the simplistic piano usage similar to Mae's last effort, and an overall sort of lazy affectation á la Days Away. Aside from these traits, however, the band does little to captivate the listener besides implement some fairly catchy hooks. It's rare we find lead vocalist Kenny Choi exploring his range or the band departing far from the shuffling acoustics that make up their base sound.

Strength is also marred by a major sequencing problem in its latter half. The closer, "What We Have Been Waiting For," is an upbeat emo pop track that's an alright song on its own, but is entirely too abrupt to be anything but a cut better reserved for the early-to-mid portion of the record. In track 8, "Pollen And Salt," DLD really manage to distance themselves from their peers here, executing fluttering acoustic guitars and seemingly drawing more from more indie pop/rock-oriented acts; the slower tempo here acting against the subtle, wish-washy backdrop would've been perfect to close the same way Death Cab For Cutie's "A Lack Of Color" caps Transatlanticism so perfectly.

Daphne Loves Derby definitely has potential to be not only one of the more tolerable acts of their genre, but one of the downright enjoyable ones. If the band decides to flex their creative muscle a bit more on the next turn around, that could be just what bridges them across.

Hammers And Hearts