White Hinterland, “Baby”

Laura Leebove

By Laura Leebove

Managing Editor
on 03.14.14 in Listen to This

With each album as White Hinterland — the forthcoming Baby is her third — Casey Dienel has inched further and further away from her whimsical piano-pop roots (though the 2006 LP released under her own name is still quite lovely). There are still nods to her piano foundation, but she’s now leaning toward moody R&B and adventurous vocal arrangements. Baby‘s title track has layers upon layers of Dienel’s mezzo-soprano over dark synths and drum machines, and later distorted guitars. It gets increasingly intense, building to her asking over and over again, “Is this my weakness? Is this my weakness?” before the music and then the echoes cut out behind her, leaving her to shout a cappella. Whether she’s straight on pitch here doesn’t matter; it’s desperate, fierce, gutteral and very effective.