Sound — 8
In a time when soft punk and modern emo rocksters like Mae, Copeland, Young Love, Honorary Title, and Acceptance are defining today's MTVU's generation, Daphne Loves Derby are fitting in tightly with the re-vamped schism. The band which started as a trio on their 2005 debut album On The Strength Of All Convinced with Kenny Choi (lead vocals, guitar), Jason Call (bass, backing vocals), and Stu Clay (drums) are now a quartet with Choi and Clay still in the group but Spencer Abbott on lead guitar and David Sparks replacing Call who decided to leave in order to go to college. The band's second album Good Night Witness Light on Outlook Records, which is owned by Denver Broncos defensive lineman Trevor Pryce, was produced by Matt Squire (Panic! At The Disco, Boys Like Girls) who has worked with almost every hot new band on MTVU. DLD's songs are flawlessly tuneful and enriched by mid-tempo rhythms reflective of This Day And Age. The music is sweet, intertwining acoustic guitars and string arrangements with stimulating rock hooks and pulsating grooves on tracks like Cue The Sun and To Struggle With Light Colors. The drum rolls rat-tat-tatting along Marching Band Intro is an upshot of familiar elements from high school, and the soft punk movements on Iron In The Back Seat are attractive with a Meg & Dia syncopation. Daphne Loves Derby keeps the album moving by mixing up the dynamics in their emo versing and sunny-pop rhythms. Choi tells on the band's website that a lot of the songs came out of feeling very gloomy, in fact, the title of the album is taken from a Robert Frost poem. But the melodies radiant uplifting sensations associated with bands like Good Charlotte and the Plain White T's. The songs actually work to eradicate gloomy moods and put the listener in a more cheery and optimistic frame of mind, even on the final track How's It Going To End which creates a softly lit ambience loaded with melodic guitar progressions.
Lyrics — 7
Poetically emo-based lyrics for definite, like in the song That's Our Hero Shot as Choi sings, Mother, look away/ Cause I don't know who I've become/ Since that November day/ When I said I wouldn't change/ Maybe I can't be surprised. The lyrics reflect about the changes that you go through over time, how situations and encounters influence your behavior and often make you into someone you don't like. The words talk about how innocence becomes lost and how important it is to hold onto it for as long as you can. There is a self-conscientious aspect in the lyrics that makes you face what you have become when you become selfish and start to sell out others.
Overall Impression — 8
The members of Daphne Loves Derby are being honest to themselves. They aren't making these songs to fit into MTVU's fade, they just happen to write songs that MTVU's current generation can relate to, probably because the members of DLD are the same age as MTVU's fans. I can't knock them down for it. The band is writing songs from their own voice and the songs are connecting with their classmates. If I lost this album, I would buy it again because it has sentimental value about a time I'd want to reflect on, no matter how old I get.