White Hinterland

Phylactery Factory | Dead Oceans
By CAITLIN E. CURRAN  |  April 22, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
In January, Scituate native Casey Dienel blogged: “For the present and foreseeable future, there won’t be any more Casey Dienel.” It wasn’t an Internet suicide note but news of a musical departure of sorts. Critics adored the homegrown folk quirk of her 2006 solo debut Wind-Up Canary (Hush), which was recorded on a farm in Leominster. Yet as she noted in a recent NPR interview, Dienel’s a collaborator. So she formed a quartet, reinvented herself as White Hinterland, and schlepped to Portland (no cows or silos in sight) to record her first post-Dienel album, Phylactery Factory. Although its nine tracks retain her folk leanings and delicate-yet-sensual vocals (which register somewhere between Feist and Joanna Newsom), “Calliope,” a bittersweet plea underscored by soft piano and trembling violin, and “A Beat Washed Ashore,” with its eerie, piercing reverb, and sweeping piano speeding and slowing the tempo in waves, boast a darker, more polished sound. Dienel’s lyrics tend to drift toward poetics (there’s even a Robert Frost reference on the final track), but when “Napoleon in Waterloo” develops with its added instrumentation into a final mélange of staccato drums and scissoring strings, its resolves more like a good story.
Related: Self-starter, ID Check: Casey Dienel, ID Check: Casey Dienel - sidebar, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Casey Dienel, Joanna Newsom, Robert Frost,  More more >
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