White Hinterland
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White Hinterland

Scituate, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

Scituate, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Alternative Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Hear White Hinterland's Beautifully Pained 'Baby' Casey Dienel shares a second jaw-dropping highlight from her April album"

White Hinterland wowed us in January with "Ring the Bell," a poppy and heady wonder of a track hailing from her four-years-in-the-making April 1 album Baby. Now Stereogum has premiered that 10-song set's titular track, which similarly finds Casey Dienel's powerful voice coming through in melismatic waves. This particular song has a darker bent, both in tone (those skittering turntable-like hits, that brooding atmosphere) and in the lyrics: "Baby go on, I hope you do / Find a partner with the patience it takes to love you." There's also a drowning, and a heart-wrenching finish. - SPIN

"ALBUM REVIEWS White Hinterland – Baby"

No matter how you cut it, White Hinterland’s Casey Dienel has one of the most arresting voices in modern music. The music she crafts to showcase it is sublime – she’s drawn comparisons to Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, which shows you the amount of love she’s drawing from people who must have been sleeping since 4AD’s glory days. Well, they’re awake now, and Baby is sure to satisfy, beguile and entrance anyone who loved this kind of music the first time it came around.

Album opener Wait Until Dark has an almost Gothic gravitas to it – Dienel’s voice rises and falls like that of the Cocteaus’ Elizabeth Fraser, and Fraser’s biggest fan Jeff Buckley. The second track, Dry Mind, sounds relentlessly modern – the thick, layered production incorporates clacking beats, twitchy rhythms and processed vocals. The clean, unprocessed vocals are again the main focal point – Dienel’s ability to switch between her yearning, imploring lower register and thoroughly chilling higher notes is not only impressive, it’s very useful on tracks like this.
The dense production of Ring The Bell and the sparse, bare atmosphere of David are dichotomous but equally enthralling. It’s the latter that becomes the highlight of the record upon repeat listens – it’s a seductive ballad, with firm piano chords and a thoroughly spectral vocal performance. It’s easy to draw comparisons with contemporary acts that have utilised solo piano dramatics to feign some kind of emotional message – not least Rihanna on the dry Stay. David is the real deal – Dienel’s quavering voice sits perfectly with the glacial piano accompaniment, and it paints the air with the same kind emotional intensity and raw sincerity as Monsieur Buckley.

The variance in production styles unfold over the remaining album tracks: from the post-dubstep sparkle of Baby, to the modern R&B thud of Metronome, the album never sticks to one particular tack. Metronome is a fiery number, with multi-tracked vocals and banging percussion sounds that are almost industrial in their relentless rhythmic power. No Devotion is deconstructed, glitchy electro-pop with a tenderness and openness you’d expect from Portishead, further supported by the tense, gloomy tones that ring around your cranium.
Another contender for album-pick is the surrealistic march of mid-album cut White Noise, which has the rhythmic power of Florence And The Machine, only with more off-kilter dramatics. On first listen, you could mistake the track that surrounds Dienel’s voice for a warped, skipping Talking Heads or INXS cut, such is the bizarre yet instantly evocative musical atmosphere.

The album closes with a thrilling one-two – Sickle No Sword and Live With You are vastly different, yet completely similar in effect. The former has a thrilling, Bristol-sound air with peculiar background noises including tinkling piano riffs and thudding, sibilant percussion; the latter has an austere, emotionally charged musicality ripe with White Hinterland’s signature dramatics.

Dienel and co have surpassed any of their previous efforts, including the incredible debut Phylactery Factory, and the most recent beauty Kairos. Dead Oceans has an unbelievable catalogue, and an astonishingly diverse current roster (A Place To Bury Strangers and Phosphorescent are probably the strongest acts on the label), and this new release from White Hinterland ensures they’ll be having a vintage year.

Dienel’s mind-blowing vocal ability (and extraordinarily photogenic face) has gained her a cult following, but this should be the release that breaks her into the mainstream. If you’re a fan of Florence And The Machine, Jeff Buckley, Laura Nyro or even Poliça, grab a copy of Baby, take the day off work and bask in the irrepressible Venusian energy of one of the finest female artists in modern pop music. You’ll be glad you did. - MusicOMH

"White Hinterland "Baby" Rolling Stone Album Review"

By Cady Drell
April 1, 2014

Massachuset ts native Casey Dienel's first two albums as White Hinterland swerved from cabaret-style ballads to R&B-flavored electro and back again. Her latest follows a similar pattern, but Dienel's considerable vocal skills hold it all together: She's got a Mary Poppins-size bag of tricks, singing in operatic quivers, howling yelps, haunting harmonic layers and even full-on vocal fry without showing any seams. Through slow piano numbers ("David") and bluesy, experimental cuts ("White Noise"), Dienel's vocal acrobatics stay riveting – the musical equivalent of pulling a floor lamp out of a handbag. - Rolling Stone

"White Hinterland "Baby" Pitchfork Album Review"

By Paula Mejia
April 4, 2014

White Hinterland, the solo project of vocalist Casey Dienel, is a study in texture, space, and expanse, stretching R&B-laced pop to emotional extremes. Her last record, 2010’s Kairos, was woozy both instrumentally and conceptually, leaning toward gossamer dream pop. Baby, her newest, sheds the downtempo beats of Kairos, experimenting with more jagged percussion and orchestral flourishes, notably horns. Dienel learned Protools and built a studio in the basement of her parents’ house, and the methodical approach to the recording, arrangement and production yields a work that feels homegrown (Pitchfork contributor Matt LeMay mixed the record). But for all the sonic change-ups, her idiosyncratic voice remains the music’s signature.

Dienel is in a line of vocalists who subvert traditional diction—Fiona Apple with her asymmetrical couplets, Björk’s ability to contort syllables. She tucks whelps and cries between verses, moving from opera-worthy falsettos to pained whimpers, at times recalling Zola Jesus’s blackened folk and even the indie pop falsetto crawl of Portugal. The Man frontman John Gourley. Baby’s opener, “Wait Until Dark,” features nearly a minute of tense near-silence, with Dienel spitting irregular verbs in the dark, creating an effect that’s uncomfortably intimate—not to mention riveting. “Show me respect, maybe then I’ll let you ride with me,” she growls and howls, curling the words behind the acid-keys of the record’s grooviest number, “Metronome.” Dienel can also belt with a diva’s range, especially on the Saturday night club-ready tracks such as “White Noise”. But the album also presents an interesting paradox: Dienel’s voice, the record’s most gripping element, can also be alienating. Occasionally, her ambitious approach lead in over-singing, such as on “Ring the Bell,” where her background vocals get in the way.

On the whole, Baby is an exceptionally cautious work and is, at times an uncomfortable listen; it’s an account of a woman wrestling with and tackling self-doubt and insecurity, exploring how it feels to lose control. “Is this my weakness?” Dienel asks as the instruments fade to black in the record’s title track. Over the song’s duration, the question evolves from an admission to a mantra, as Dienel’s voice gains traction and grows in power. Corrosive lyrics also make it an exceptionally heavy listen, when she delivers likes like, “Pushed your head under the water till all your breath gave out” on the title track. But even though it’s filled with stark admissions, Baby is ultimately an unflinchingly hopeful record that sees an already talented artist finding finding new ways to grow. - Pitchfork

"White Hinterland – “Baby” (Stereogum Premiere)"

By Miles Bowe
March 4, 2014

Casey Dienel aka White Hinterland’s new album Baby is poised to display her transformation from a more introverted singer performing over drones and glitchy beats to her own best producer soaring over bombastic experimental R&B. Lead single “Ring The Bell” already showed this, but the album’s title track goes further. Dienel’s voice and beats here are tougher than before while her experimentation during the recording of the album shines through with dissonant, angular distortion cutting through smooth bass lines. The recurring mantra of “is this my weakness,” flows with the music so well that it almost sounds like a boast. Listen and read Dienel’s comment on the song below. - Steregum

"White Hinterland Raises Her Voice"

By Katy Henriksen
April 8, 2014

The music Casey Dienel makes as White Hinterland has always resisted categorization. The first record, 2008′s Phylactery Factory, was a jazz-folk-pop record, heavy on the Rhodes. It was followed two years later by Kairos, which traded the ukulele for heavy bass and minimalist looping.

Baby is the first White Hinterland album in four years and it continues on the same path as its predecessor, with time given to deep bass, synths, and echoed layered vocals, along with her familiar stripped-down piano setup. Dienel’s voice is stronger, and it’s especially in the a cappella moments — notably in opening track “Wait Until Dark” and the single “Baby” — that the growth of her singing shines. Baby documents the transformation from meekness to mastery both vocally and in her command of production.

As Dienel tells it, she’s now more at peace than ever after moving from Portland back to her hometown of Scituate, Massachusetts, a change that allowed her to write and record with minimal distractions and reconnect her to her roots. She returned to the home she grew up in and lives with her parents, who she considers best friends. “I live on the beach, so obviously it’s not as much of a bummer as it could be,” she explains. “We’re a small family, but really tight knit.”

That doesn’t mean Baby was without its difficulties. Dienel trashed three versions of the album before finally finding one that “clicked.” That she produced the record on her own gave her the freedom she needed to experiment and follow the kinds of impulses she might have been too self-conscious to attempt in front of another person.

“There are special golden moments when you’re alone in the studio,” she says. “You don’t have to feel self-conscious barking like a dog, or singing as if you’re at the bottom of a pit of awful despair.”

Katy Henriksen talked with Dienel about moving back home, learning to produce and the power of the human voice.

This is your first album since 2009. You really dedicate yourself to something to make it right instead of just releasing something new every year. What’s it like to have this album finally coming out, after all the work you put into it?

Surreal. Because for two years, I thought it was never going to come out. I was in denial that we were going to have this Baby. I’ve put out things in the past and have been meek about it but not wanting to brag, but I worked my ass off for this one. I really, really worked hard, and there’s a certain type of satisfaction that comes with that that I’d never felt before. I feel very confident and proud in saying, “Yeah, I did this, and I did it exactly the way I wanted.” I hope people like it, but I can’t control it. All I can control is how I feel about it, and I love it. It was definitely hard — it was the hardest and took the most to make of all my recordings.

There were three full versions of the album that just didn’t feel right somehow. I could have put out a record every year. It is not lost on me for one second how lucky I am that I get to do the thing I set out to do. When it comes time to pull the trigger and say, “This record is done,” I always want to make sure it’s something I’m really proud of. In the past, I cut corners. I wanted to feel like I wasn’t simply filling a quota.

So, how did you know the one that was going to be the album?

It’s a “click,” is how I describe it. There’s a click that needs to happen. And it always happens, especially as time goes on. I’ve been writing songs for 20 years, and at this point I’m happy to trust it. Ten years ago, I had so much anxiety. I’d think, “This is the last song I’ll ever write.” I’d go into the studio and think, “This is the last song I’ll ever record.” All that anxiety is so harmful to A) having fun, which is really important, and B) doing your job to make it sound good.

Very rarely do things come about by force. At one point, I was in Wisconsin mixing [an earlier version of the record] that I’d been working on for three years and it was as close to completion as it could get. I was with my friend Justin, and that’s when I stopped and said, “This isn’t good. It isn’t me. It doesn’t sound exuberant.” That was the thing. I just hadn’t captured myself, or what I’d set out to do with the album. And that’s when I decided to move back to my hometown.

‘It was always intimidating to be the only girl coming into the studio, usually, and see a bank of gear in front of me and wonder what did what.’
I’d been studying production for about a year and wasn’t even trying to make a record at that point. I set up a studio and just wanted something to take my mind off feeling like I was a massive fuck-up, basically. I thought maybe if I just made a big racket for fun and got back to my natural environment, it’d help. I was in a really bad car accident right before the move — I had to give away most of my stuff. I’d been really depressed for three years going in and out of that.

Back home, I started from scratch and then, of course, it just showed up. It was really fast, too. That’s the crazy thing — once I let go of the idea of having to make something really great, all of a sudden something really great showed up. Typical. I came home and studied production [videos] on YouTube a lot. I was getting really great advice from other producers, and by the end of the summer I pretty much had Baby. I rewrote a lot of it. At one point, I was working from around 40 songs. It’s great, because now I know how to do all this stuff and I’ll never have to start from that point again. That’s the most exciting takeaway, because I went out in the wilderness and won’t have to do this again.

You’ve made a huge move from Portland back to Scituate. What’s it like to move from the city back to your small hometown?

I think Portland is the kind of city that’s a home to a lot of people who are running away from something. It has a distinct optimism and escapism embedded in its cultural DNA. In some ways that’s nice, because you can create anything there. You can be an obsessive about beer or chocolate or songwriting. Basically, the show Portlandia hits the nail on the head. It’s very accurate. I think for that type of specialization, it’s pretty unique. There also aren’t many jobs there and tons of qualified people. The cost of living there can be pretty low, though.

I found trying to juggle an outside job with doing music as a professional, not just as a hobby, is really difficult. I didn’t want to be a part-time barista playing in bands. For a lot of people, that’s not a big deal, but I’m kind of a monomaniac and not good at doing a lot of things at once. I’m better when I restrict my focus to two or three things, which for me is music, family and friends. The rest, I don’t care about. If my parents wanted to live in the desert, I’d probably live in the desert.

I’ve always loved Scituate. It’s definitely a townie town. Most people don’t leave, and there’s really good community. I just think indie music can be such bullshit, so it’s great walking down the street running into people who don’t care about that stuff. It keeps things in check. If I’m starting to stress out about tour or my record, it takes me out of that when I see people taking their kids to school, or taking grandma out for a day from the nursing home. It’s nice to be a part of that.

In Portland — I don’t know if it was the way my life was set up there…I mean, I don’t think it’s totally the city’s fault. It felt like there was this Neverland vibe that sometimes made me a little uncomfortable. I think for me living in utopia is not as interesting as trying to take a place that needs some work and doing what you can in some way. I don’t know if I want to look out and see people who see and think act and believe in all the same things I do. When I was younger, I really did want that. It’s refreshing to talk to someone who admits to not liking my music.

I want to go back to a term you’ve used yourself, “meek.” I’ve seen you grow as an artist and come into your own with your voice. You’ve completely unleashed it on this album. How were you able to do that?

When I was a kid, I wasn’t in any way introverted. As a teenager, I stuck out a lot. I was always the freak or geek in my school — I was a hybrid of the two. It wasn’t on purpose, but I wanted to disappear. You carry that with you. You think that you don’t, but then you notice the patterns you carry with you to feel a little smaller.

I’m not bossy, but I’m definitely particular, and I like to give people who work with me a very clear idea of what I want to accomplish. Basically, what happened was I hit the threshold — I couldn’t be meek or shy anymore. It was just getting in the way. Somehow, that came out musically.

On a lot of these songs, my voice is really expanding to fill the extremes of my dynamic range, and the main reason is that it feels really, really good to sing that way. Weirdly, the more you come out of your shell and stop pretending you’re something you’re not, more the doors open up to you.

This album is really diverse, but it’s also very cohesive. There are stripped-down moments of just you and piano, right up against these sound collages with a lot of beats. How did you fold all this together for Baby?

I took a lot of cues from other artists who have self-produced, like Prince or Kate Bush. When you self-produce, you don’t have anyone question why you want to do something a certain way, and I’ve never experienced that before. I’ve never been the only person in the room when the tape was running, or when it was being edited. That’s hugely freeing. I think for women this is rare and it’s really sad. I’d love to see more. It’s such a gift, and it’s not as hard as people think it is.

It was always intimidating to be the only girl coming into the studio, usually, and see a bank of gear in front of me and wonder what did what. I think if you’re in the minority, you’re less likely to raise your hand and ask a question because you don’t want to get called out for not knowing something, or be seen as an amateur. I’ve definitely felt that way. It’s been very humbling to go into a situation starting from scratch, but I know what I want, and I know what I want it to sound like, and I’ve had a lot of support from producers such as my best friend Alexis Gideon. I don’t think some of the crazy stuff on Baby could have happened if I’d had others around. I would have been too self-conscious.

There’s also something about femaleness, femininity. We’re definitely socialized to be pleasing and to please. There’s that part of me that’s a pathological people-pleaser that’s at odds with the alpha music lady in me. In some, ways men aren’t socialized that way: You make a bunch of noise, you don’t have to apologize, you show up late or messy, but that’s OK, it’s a guy thing. In my experience, women are so conscious of other people’s boundaries, it’s amazing how sensitive they are. That’s one reason I love working around women. We’re more apt to notice something like “Oh, she really needs a nap, I’m just going to get out of her hair right now.” Or, “Oh she seems really stressed out, maybe I’ll go help her because she’s having a tough day.” On the other side of the coin, we can be so accommodating that sometimes can hold us back, because we give too much. How much can you give away before you go crazy?

The thing that precipitated Baby was that I was giving away much more than I was taking for myself. Self-care to me, at that point, was equivalent to being selfish. Is it selfish of me to hide out and just take a bubble bath all day, or watch a crappy movie and not call anyone or not do dishes for someone today? Am I bad? I think that just may be my human condition.

Speaking of alpha music people, I know you love Nina Simone and Erykah Badu. What drew you to musicians like them?

The voice is what drew me to them, because the voice is my favorite instrument. I think it’s something underrated, sadly. When I was in music school, the way that people talked about singers was really disrespectful. I mean, think about how hard it is to use your body for that every single night? Nina Simone in particular has really come through for me in dark periods. It sounds like a voice calling from the darkness, telling you it’s going to be OK. Also, her Live at Montreux band is pretty much my dream band.

Why is the voice your favorite instrument? Why do you think it’s underrated?

I think it’s underrated because we can’t see all the things that go into it to make that sound come out. If you watch me play piano, or watch someone play bass, you can see the effort in front of you, and that’s really beautiful and part of why the instruments are so compelling.

With the voice, it’s all internalized. People take the voice for granted — and by people, I mean music scholars. The voice is the most direct conduit between two people. If you’re across room and I sing to you, I’m using this very human muscle, and you can also do it right back to me. Growing up playing piano, I’ve noticed there’s more of an observer/audience connection there.

‘A lot of the smartest musicians I know are singers.’
Singing is like being an actress. You’re an interpreter. You’re carrying all the emotional information of the song. Whether you wrote the song or not, you’re doing a lot of heavy lifting. For every Cole Porter song, the way a singer can imbue it with a completely different personality or attack is — I mean, I think it’s relatively recently that we’ve wanted songs to be written by the same person who’s performing them. It really wasn’t until Bob Dylan or the Beatles that that became industry standard. Donny Hathaway didn’t write a lot of his songs, and I think he was one of the best singers in the whole world.

Growing up listening to a lot of R&B, soul, Motown, there was an amazing factory of people specializing in a product for the greater good — and I say this as someone who wants to do every aspect of a song myself. Personally, I would love to write for more singers. It’s fun to write for myself, but I’m working off a huge back catalog of things I’ve never put in the world, and I think there’s use for them with other people, people who could probably do things with them that I couldn’t.

I think that’s the most fascinating part of music — it’s so personalized. I’ve seen a few covers of my songs and I’m like, “Oh my god, I never would have taken it there,” and I’m always really impressed. You get lost in your own world, especially living where I do and working where I do and working the way I do. A lot of the smartest musicians I know are singers.

The last thing I want to do when I’m on stage is think about what I’m doing while I’m doing it. I want to just be in the moment. What I don’t like is when something becomes so math-y, it’s almost turgid. It’s very rare that I’ve listened to something described as “smart” and come away feeling really touched by it. There is no “right” way, and I don’t think my way is the best way, but I’m not really looking for that. I’m looking for a different set of fireworks. I just want to cry. - Wondering Sound

"How White Hinterland Rediscovered the Power of Her Voice: Like most great things, it all began with singing a Beyoncé song at karaoke."

By Matthew Perpetua

Massachusetts songwriter and producer Casey Dienel has been releasing music under her own name and as White Hinterland for nearly a decade, but her new album Baby is the first where she’s revealed the full power of her singing voice. Dienel’s new music falls somewhere in the space between arty indie and immediately catchy, emotionally expressive chart pop — imagine a Mariah Carey record produced by the guys in Animal Collective, and you’re on the right track. BuzzFeed caught up with Dienel just before she headed out on tour to talk about how she found the confidence to make the biggest, boldest album of her career.

The way you sing has changed a lot since you released your last album in 2010. Do you feel like you’re less inhibited as a vocalist now?

Casey Dienel: Absolutely, and part of it is that I’m a lot more connected to my body than I was when I was younger. I started singing young but I stopped because I was was so loud that people would be like “Shut up, Casey!” I shut that voice off, and this thin, wispy, pretty voice appeared, and that was how I sang for 10 years. I was really afraid of karaoke for a long time, which is weird and totally inexplicable. So I decided to do karaoke and I did some Beyoncé, and I got my big voice back out, and I was like, “Oh shit, this feels really good!” I think I had a tequila sunrise or something and thought, Well, if you’re going to sing “Upgrade U,” go for it. I nailed it!

A thing I love about singing is that it’s so physical. I can feel it in my fingertips and in my toes when I’m singing, if I’m doing it right. It’s the best feeling, it’s like working out, or running a long distance. If something in my throat feels really cool, like on “Baby,” if I want to wail, I choose that. When I’m singing I’m very rarely thinking, and that’s part of what I love about it because outside of music, I think a lot and I have a lot of anxiety.

Have you always known you could pull out that big voice?

CD: I am confident, and I used to not be. Being a teenager is so rough for everyone, and everyone goes through hell when their pituitary gland is activating. For me, I was bullied, I moved to school kinda late and I stood out when I all wanted to do in middle school and high school was disappear. Which is weird, because as a kid I was such a ham. Then I hit my mid-twenties, and I’m still trying to disappear. You can’t go on stage and want to disappear; that’s really weird and it’s antisocial to people who just paid $15 to come see you. Something snapped, and I had to go back to square one, which was, I’m kinda bossy, and I’m a pain in the ass, and I’m mouthy and that’s just the way it is. It makes it a lot easier to sing in front of people too, because I’m not semi-apologizing for it musically.

Why was it important for you to be the producer on this record?

CD: The big goal was that I really wanted to do as much as possible on the engineering side, and that was really tricky because I had to learn how to condense 10 years of production internship into two years. That required a lot of work and study. I just wanted to capture what it’s like when I’m playing alone for my own pleasure, and not clever or deep in any way, and singing and throwing my voice around in a really different way than I have on record. I think it’s really common for a lot of artists [to feel less self-conscious] when no one else is in the room — it’s like Toy Story or something. I think risk-taking is important but I don’t think that it’s productive for me to actively try to take a risk. I don’t want to think about it being risky, so I just want to press record and try to go for it.

Do you think of Baby as being more pop than what you’ve done before?

CD: I’ve always considered myself a pop musician. Even with my first album Wind Up Canary, I’d be like, “Oh my god, I wrote a radio pop song,” whether they really were radio-ready or not. I think no one ever wants to eat their vegetables because they’re good for you, and I think the same applies to music. You have to inject life into it, and exuberance. - Buzzfeed Music


Still working on that hot first release.



Freedom often begins from terror, and White Hinterland's third album, Baby, addresses the fear that comes along with breaking out of established rituals, or leaving a comfortable place, and striking out into the unknown. Four years after her profile-raising release, Kairos (2010), Casey Dienel aka White Hinterland has taken the gloves off and knuckled down to produce a deep, dark, heady mix of songs. After two and a half years of writing and recording material in Montreal and Portland, OR, Dienel moved back in to her family home in Scituate, MA. There she forged a new aesthetic, spending five months building her own studio, The Glades, in her parents' basement - the same space where she practiced piano and vocal lessons as a child. Determined to helm her new album, Dienel spent months studying production, poring over YouTube tutorials about Protools, mic'ing techniques and other minutiae. Armed with this self-taught skill and her new studio, Dienel set forth to subvert the existing power structure of male producer as svengali and female artist as figurehead (see: Billy Corgan/Courtney Love, Timbaland/Aaliyah, Phil Spector/The Ronettes). She created her own, new path on Baby, which showcases her as a singer/songwriter/producer who has only become bolder and more resolute over the past three-plus years. Calling in her friends as pinch hitters, Dienel worked acclaimed musicians Sean Carey (Bon Iver, S. Carey), Neal Morgan (Joanna Newsom, Bill Callahan), and Cole Kamen-Green (BeyoncĂŠ).

On her first four records, Dienel projected her fears and fantasies onto imaginary characters, role play, and lush atmospherics. If Kairos was a work of atmosphere, a forty-minute-long reverie without any narrative, then Baby sits at the opposite end of that spectrum. Baby is about song craft. It is forceful, rooted in the physicality of the voice, percussion and piano, and it is about getting straight to the point, which Dienel does on the very first song. Lead-off track "Wait Until Dark" begins a capella, just Dienel's voice in a reverberant room. That voice is capable of carrying a significant melodic and emotional load, and on Baby's title track it swoops dramatically from an edge-of-cliff howl to her crystalline upper-range, then back down to a soulful growl. By the end of the song, sounding exhausted but ready to push forward, Dienel again drops away the arrangement, leaving just her voice, stripped bare and pushed to the very edges of its significant range, "Say I'll take a sip, but I can't leave a drop," she repeats over and over: "Is this my weakness?" These audacious choices were intentional, she says, "As producer I made the call to scale back the reverb, saw off the synths and seat my voice front and center for the first time. It was not accidental." 

Dienel's Baby is both the pop clichĂŠ of "Oooh, Baby Baby" and Dienel telling herself to stop being such a baby. It is a word of both endearment and dismissal, repurposed to serve her needs. It's a cathartic embrace of hardship, the crucible which can forge the strongest steel. It is the past three years of her life distilled into song: joy, heartbreak, frustration, longing, disappointment, anger, and loss accumulated, poured out and reborn in this new, unflinching release.

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