Friday, April 10th, 2015

Daphne and Celeste – You and I Alone

It’s like a horror movie, isn’t it?

Katherine St Asaph: The track is a shambles: mixed for shitty laptop speakers. Half the time Daphne’s vocal doesn’t line up with Celeste. I know nothing about Max Tundra, everything I read and hear makes me like his music more and personality less, and I suspect he linked up with D&C solely because it’d be so wild and meta and weird to collaborate with girls who were such a joke, man, like did you remember them getting piss bottled? (The press release, with its talk of “manufactured millennial pop starlets” against multiple mentions of Max’s genius, does not dislodge this notion.) But unlike most PC Music, “You and I Alone” holds up. The track’s built on marginalia: empty-corridor footsteps (apparently of Max’s ex, which also doesn’t dislodge the aforementioned notion), cassette tapes planted like time capsules, memories gone pixellated and dithered with time and conversion, a bridge like some undiscovered DFW- and Billie-featuring upper shelf of “Shampoo’s Cupboard” — off their third record, which this resembles. I wasn’t around for the first wave of poptimism, the one that canonized Annie and Rachel Stevens and Saint Etienne and Richard X and Hannah Robinson, the one where pop seemed full of possibility and not yet smothered by years and years of Internet music blogging peat-rot; yet, perhaps by design this track gives me intense nostalgia for it. I think that’s why people love it so much.

Mark Sinker: Cheeky teen poppets boffin-summoned across an unbridgeable space-time gulf — 15 years in pop is as many aeons out of it — to negotiate a changed world, full of melancholy post-hiatus separation, the static of hard-to-recall shtick, the uncanny, near-creepy possibilities of an asymmetric working quest with an unknown someone who knows all about you and yours (and all sound between). Game as ever, the companions say yes! What dangers can’t they face together, via infectious twinned chaos and wide-eyed cheery amazement at the silliness of everything, monsters, mad science, the perils of a career reboot? So here they are fuzzily snapped transmitting a cryptic Voyager-style message to their own future, complete with 30-second Billy-Joel-style summary of all culture then and since (“Ghost Box, House Arrest, Strange Fruit, Infinite Jest…”) over a throb with Radiophonic Delia strangely deep in its bones. 

Edward Okulicz: Once I got over my excitement and then irritation that I couldn’t find my copy of We Didn’t Say That! last time I went crate-digging, I realised that “You and I Alone” isn’t that exciting to listen to, but it is a joy, albeit a moderate one. It doesn’t carry any of the eye-poking glee of the duo’s most iconic moments. Its hooks don’t so much hook as slowly seep into your mind, though the chorus nags at the ears a little. Its lo-fi pop fuzz is more pleasant than essential. But it’s well-made minimalism nonetheless; it’s a different kind of pleasure with the hook of memories as sneaky entryism.

Anthony Easton: I like Daphne and Celeste, and I love Max Tundra, and I was taught to love pop by English mentors who refused my guilt, but being North American there is a certain remove. So the overwhelming nostalgia is sort of outside of my realm. But this is so smart, and delightful. I love the little spoken word canon in the middle, and some of the transitions sound like alpenhaus folktronica, which is something we all need more of, and it sounds timeless.

Alfred Soto: Twitching and glistening and crackling laptop beats over which confident talk-singings construct a melody out of shards. They meant nothing to me at the time, so if I were hearing this context-free I’d wonder why this pleasant innocuousness is worth the keystrokes.

Maxwell Cavaseno: Yeah, I’m left out of the excitement, I guess.

Brad Shoup: Well, you wonder which other brief pop sensations have impeccably observed, mysterious songs, for starters. Max Tundra’s skipping beat and sour tones give off suggestions of a bygone alt-rock crossover; for their part, D&C are writing an A-level Green Gartside song.

Reader average: [7.11] (9 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

9 Responses to “Daphne and Celeste – You and I Alone”

  1. thank u brad for connecting this song to this song:

  2. I WISH it sounded like Gartside. His tracks move.

  3. I had to import my copy of “WDST” from England, so I had the odd experience of paying a pound for the album (yay!) and then paying several times that for international shipping.

    (Worth it!)

  4. I paid A$2 for the album in a cut out bin a few months after it came out. Which was OK other than that I paid a tenner for the “Ooh Stick You” single.

  5. “well, you wonder which other brief pop sensations have impeccably observed, mysterious songs, for starters.”

    for starters, katy rose

  6. ^^^^^^^ I mean there are some stone classics on *Because I Can* but *Candy Eyed* is like next. Level.

    I would argue that the Veronicas’ second album is full of “impeccably observed mysterious songs” though not sure if they actually count as “brief pop sensation.”

    Others that come to mind: Lil’ Mama: “L.I.F.E.,” Amy Diamond “So Sixteen,” anything Brie Larson posted to her MySpace page between 2006 and 2007 (but especially this one:, all of Marit Larsen’s *Under the Surface*…there’s a whole genre of this stuff. (I’m making a few mixes of it per a friend’s request.)

  7. There are at least two on Hilary Duff’s “Dignity” that pass the test — neo-freestyle classic “Happy” and fame-as-agoraphobia “Burned.”

  8. Last comment is in moderation limbo. But search Hilary Duff’s “Happy” and “Burned,” too.

    And maybe Fefe Dobson’s “Ghost” tho arguably Dobson is better known now as a songwriter (and maybe as a performer though probably not).

  9. And that’s to say nothing of Sleigh Bells, kind of the poster child for this kinda move.