“Amethyst O’clock”, a beguiling psych-pop tune from the Ontario-based Daphne’s Demise, tells you a lot just from its title. The world of this song is certainly stranger than our own; this is, apparently, the kind of world where colors and gemstones can be used to signify time (which reminds me–I’ve got a dental appointment at half past periwinkle). But just because something is strange doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, and it’s not long before “Amethyst O’clock” wraps its arms around the listener and shows us its welcoming, whimsical heart.
Zoë Layla, the mind behind Daphne’s Demise, lists Broadcast among her inspirations, and I can definitely hear the influence of those neo-psych legends on “Amethyst O’clock”. The lovely, lilting melody would fit comfortably on The Noise Made By People, and Layla’s voice bears an uncanny resemblance to the late Trish Keenan’s. But Broadcast were rarely this warm and friendly; even their most straightforward songs, like “Come On Let’s Go”, had a brittle, frosty quality about them. “Amethyst O’clock”, on the other hand, is a cozy blanket of a song, caked in reverb and chiming with dream pop guitars. Even though the sound is hazy and watery, it feels as immediate as a lullaby hummed right in your ear–in this way, it reminds me of Grouper circa Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill.
The album carrying “Amethyst O’clock” is called What A Gift Just To Exist, and that sentence shows up in the song’s lyrics. It’s one of the few discernible lyrics there are, considering how cloaked in reverb Layla’s voice is, but that just makes them stand out even more–the sentiment feels sweeter, and more importantly earned, for how buried it is. It almost mirrors the way affirmations like that can feel buried by the weight of the world, how they can feel cliche until you’ve gone through enough hardship to recognize the fundamental truth at its heart. Cynicism can only take you so far, and you can only take so much of it. It is a gift just to exist, even if it doesn’t always feel that way, and “Amethyst O’clock” delivers that message with warmth and sincerity.