March 4th 2008
Dead Oceans Records
To succeed in getting their names on the lips of people who give a fuck about music, singer/songwriters of the piano sort, or any sort for that matter, have their work cut out for them. With the reemergence of Beth Orton as a name to drop here and there, or the certainty of Cat Power’s legacy in the annuls of indie music, artists like White Hinterland, aka Casey Dienel, are getting a second look; sometimes a second look they deserve, sometimes not. Every label wants their Chan Marshall, right Dead Oceans?
I found Phylactery Factory in the used music section at Sound Fix. Being that that record came out only a few weeks prior, I was curious as to why it had been returned to the shelf so quickly. Giving the CD a second lease on life, I picked it up and was happily surprised. The piano is often up beat and structured with standard melodies, and songs are given flesh with strings and bass, producing a light euphoric rhythm that provokes a tap of the foot, but requires nothing more.
Casey Dienel’s voice is nice and croonish, belonging to one of the more common styles, reflecting a kinship with Beth Gibbons, Beth Orton, Chan Marshall, and Björk. Phylactery Factory was worth the second look, but even as it is easy going and light in spirit, it suffers as a blatant middle-of-the road record, whose highs and lows are barely perceivable and typical when apparent. There is nothing particularly special about the music other than I like it. I suppose that is as much as any singer/songwriter can ask.
Wind-Up Canary (As Casey Dienel)- 2006