[sic] Magazine

White Hinterland – Kairos

With Yeasayer going unashamedly pop on their Odd Blood album, could 2010 be the year of rebrand and package? White Hinterland , known to their mothers as Casey Dienel and Shawn Creeden , certainly think so. It’s out with rather accomplished piano-tickled, freak-folk musings as heard on 2008’s Phylactery Factory, and in with looping, electrified dream-pop. Beach House may come to define that niche this year, but White Hinterland seem destined to be hot on their heels.

Lead single “Icarus” opens Kairos and it’s full of sexy beats, ambient vocal harmonies and synthesised washes. It’s high quality, minimal dream-pop and equal to anything on Teen Dream. Björk ‘s legacy and electronic percussion chatter throughout “Moon Jam” lending it a dusk-like tranquillity, and nowhere is White Hinterland’s patented “Art & B” more evident than on “Begin Again”, which mixes silky production with urban-lite rhythms.

The soulful spikes and spirals of “Bows & Arrows” are experimental and deep, hinting at a continuation laid down by so-called experimental-folk acts such as Wildbirds & Peacedrums . “No Logic” is truer to Dienel’s roots housing spaced out ukulele, and “Thunderbird” is more than reminiscent of CocoRosie ‘s theatrical falsettos and shuffling beats. The echoing loops of “Amsterdam” are mesmeric, Dienel’s vocal floating on trancelike surges. “Cataract” is both fun and mournful, as Dienel emotes strongly with an atmospheric and varied vocal performance while small soundbytes of guitar noodlery interject playfully.

The Greek noun “kairos” literally means a special moment in time, separate from ordinary chronological sequence. Whilst this provides obvious aptness, it also provides truth. In moving to Portland after the release of Phylactery Factory, Dienel and Creeden found themselves without regular access to their usual fail-safes. Consequently, Kairos was created under an atmosphere of change and excitement, and as such it proudly and deservedly stands testament to one of life’s great crossroads as a result.

Kairos is released March 8th 2010 on Dead Oceans.