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White Hinterland, "Baby" (Dead Oceans) 

Casey Dienel, the mind behind White Hinderland, announces her intentions on "Baby," her third album under that name, right off the bat, with a few seconds of her fascinating voice unaccompanied and upfront on the first song, "Wait Until Dark," followed by a piano solo of sorts. If you're going to enjoy her music, it's going to be largely based on her appreciation of her voice, which has elements of modern R&B, the richness of Fiona Apple and the adventurousness of the Kate Bush back catalog. If you can't ride with the way she runs through notes, layering stacks of her vocals upon themselves, you'll need to find a new album to listen to. However seeing that it's easy to pick up on her tremendous talent, whether it's on the Dirty Projectors-styled jagged rhythms of "Ring the Bell" or a piano ballad like "David" that would make Tori Amos proud, the idiosyncrasies and occasional busyness of how Dienel approaches songwriting is more often interesting than annoying. At very least, in a crowded field of super-talented vocalists who occasionally seem to settle into predictable and sometimes dull patterns, "Baby" is the sound of someone looking to break new ground, creating something uniquely her own.

More by Dan Gibson

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