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  • Tom H

Dorsia | Casual Hex (debut EP)

Dorsia press photo by Natalie Escobedo

Dorsia is the musical project of Chicago-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alice Kraynak (of Idylls, Fauvely), and she's recently released her impressive debut EP, Casual Hex (Other Coast Records). The project itself began back in 2015 as a collection of iPhone recordings, but has since transformed into a mature collection of four atmospheric indie pop tracks, with full production and supporting musicians (Chace Wall (production, vocals, bass), Mike Boyd (drums)). If you're a fan of post-modern author Brett Easton Ellis, you might recognize the name 'Dorsia' as the elusive restaurant in American Psycho where it's practically impossible to score a dinner reservation.

The musical atmosphere throughout Casual Hex pays homage to the shoegaze genre of music, most notably attributed to artists such as My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Lush, and Mazzy Star. Incorporating tasteful, well-placed elements of noise and reverb, alongside swirling guitars and melodic vocals, each of the tracks on Casual Hex solidly stands on its own. As the band's Facebook page notes, from a lyrical/theme perspective, Dorsia "navigates listeners through the complexities of untraditional relationships."

Opening track "Marcelle" presents a relaxed vibe, in a style reminiscent of early Slowdive, and ends with an impressive wall of guitar noise. The upbeat, rocking "Window Girl" sounds like a track that would have perfectly fit into Lush's Split album, and really exudes the Lush trademark sound. "Not the First Time" follows with a relaxed, almost loungy vibe. I love the reverb-like, strummed effect on the guitars on this track. The EP's final track, "Only One," is my favorite of the four. With lovely melody, impressive songwriting and production, this is a definite highlight and ending to Casual Hex, and is one of those songs that leaves the listener wanting more. And if more is what you are looking for, you might be in luck - a recent post on the Dorsia Facebook page indicates there are plans to start recording a full-length album this year.

In the meantime, you can keep up with news, performances and other info about Dorsia by following the band on social media (Facebook, Instagram), and find their music on Bandcamp.

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