FCC TRACKS: #2 "Dry Mind", #4 "David", #8 "No Devotion"
White Hinterland is the moniker of Casey Dienel, and Baby is her 3rd album under the name. According to label Dead Oceans, the songs "address the fear that comes along with breaking out of established rituals, or leaving a comfortable place, and striking out into the unknown." This description makes sense, because Baby is an entirely unconventional mix of sounds and genres: built around Dienel's fiercely present vocals, there are influences of R&B and gospel woven throughout the often dark, deep textures found on the album. Synthesized drums provide a backbone that is fittingly inhuman juxtaposed against the very obvious physicality in Dienel's song crafting.
While at very first listen some of the songs seem unaccessible, even unapproachable, on subsequent listens the elements begin to blend more obviously, making something sonically interesting and captivating. "Ring The Bell" is a must-hear, with sputtering drums and soulful horns poised behind Dienel's effortless vocal tracks. The title track takes a similar route with an added feeling of suspense, and "Metronome" has an industrial, chaotic atmosphere anchored by Dienel's wailing reminiscent of Florence Welch. The closer, "I Live With You" has a simpler and less convoluted structure, and hints at the gospel influences mentioned before. A heartfelt piano riff accompanies a striking assembly of background vocals, and as the song fades out, Dienel croons, "Honey I could be so mean to you/you can be so cruel/at the end of the day I know you love me/always have and always will." So among the themes of heartbreak, loss, disappointment and frustration explored on Baby, we are left with a hopeful note, and White Hinterland cements itself as a worthwhile project to keep on your radar.
Recommended Tracks: #3 "Ring The Bell", #5 "Baby", #7 "Metronome"