Album Review :
Dylan Case White - Remind Me Your Name
By Casey Gallenberger in Reviews | No Comments
Dylan Case White’s debut LP, Remind Me Your Name, has been a long time in the making. Its genesis is fraught with the loss of entire songs, working remotely with Allen Odell for production, and the realization of musical concepts that go back years at this point. White’s previous work includes a project under the Spoken World moniker (which is NOT spoken word) and some demos from Glow in the Dark. And while these hinted at what he was capable of, Remind Me Your Name feels like the awaited fulfillment of some distant promise.
White, in some ways, might be the dark horse of the Post Emo roster due to his supposed obscurity. Benjamin Daniel and Chase Tremaine have had consistent output for a while, and they’ve been fan favorites for a number of publications. But White very much fits the mission of the collective. Musically, he’s perhaps a bit of an outlier – his voice is smokier and lower than his compatriots, and his guitar lines have a bit of twang to them. There’s a degree of 90s alternative and slowcore mixed with just a hint of alt-country, but other moments are more traditional indie rock, singer-songwriter, and even lofi. All of this is, of course, captured in the album art: White sees sand fall through his hands while mountains tower in the backdrop. This manages to capture both the earthy nature of the songs as well as themes of wordly ephemera and eternal glory.
The album is fairly concise at only 10 tracks, one being an instrumental intro. Even so, White makes good use of his space here. There’s a mix of of stripped-back, soft ballads and percussive-driven tracks that keep the dynamic interesting. And while some of the record is a bit softer and minimalist, White’s lyrics easily take center stage as he wrestles with belonging, identity, and hope.
Prior singles “Wake Up Crying”, “Owning Up”, and “Loose Grip” return from 2022, complete with reworked production. The familiarity of the songs acted as a guidepost to tie the album together. While this isn’t a true concept album, there are plenty of lyrical threads that repeat – ruminations of the fleeting nature of the world, recollections of mistaking lust for love, and ponderings of the power of grace over regret haunt these songs. White’s persona is a bit hardy when compared to Benjamin Daniel, in a sort of battle-tested way. There’s a degree of blue collar ethos at play that’s hard to articulate. Even so, he deftly avoids any hints of cynicism, fixating instead on the hope before us. This may sound a bit dull on paper, perhaps in the same way a more traditional church service is. There aren’t crazy bells and whistles. White is not screaming to be heard. His craft is akin to parable in some ways – those who care to plunder these songs for their truths will make space to do so.
In terms of highlight tracks, many of my favorite are on the b-side. “Owning Up” was my favorite pre-released single and it definitely stands out in several ways. It has a hint of electronic influence at play, and the chorus is definitely one of the strongest on the record. White recounts aimlessly driving around as a sort of metaphor for wandering through life without purpose, looking at love as an experience. “On the Clouds” is a pretty stripped-back track that sees White contemplate how the return of Christ will make everything new. It even includes a field recording of crickets outside which gives the track a campfire lullaby feeling. The end picks up with subtle drums, but it’s far from a bombastic close, and I do think something like that would have worked well here. And “Swing Low” ties things together with its programmed, tom-heavy drum beat, piano, and gang-vocal chorus. It’s a proper big ending track and definitely an instant highlight.
On the front half, “Landline” acts as a lyrical counterpart to “Owning Up” and also serves as a proper introduction to White’s pensive lyrics. Take these lyrics:
How many calls—how many wasted days
In empty parking lots smoking the hours away
Wishing for more but wanting the less I’d take
Now I’m older but age gave no advice
You see if grace hadn’t come down from on high
I never would have figured wrong from right
Compare them to these:
I only ever thought
Thought I was in love
Its just a feeling I had when I was young
And I’m older now
Can see how I was wrong
Yeah how all along
It’s just a feeling I had
When I was young
“Seasons Shift” is a bit faster, verging on a post-punk feeling at times, complete with synth lines mixed in. There are lyrical nods here to “Loose Grip” as well.
A lot of the tie-ins feel less conceptual and more within a certain headspace – the themes repeat not necessarily in some complicated, obtuse manner. Instead, Remind Me Your Name is a spiritual coming-of-age story about moving beyond regret, lust, and worldliness toward an eternal perspective of peace, hope, and resilience. White does not put all of his baggage and pain on display, nor does he dwell in the past. There is a groundedness to these tracks. And while some tracks are a bit too thin for my taste, it’s clear White adds something new to the Post Emo roster and scene at large. There’s grit and grace here. These are not the sort of careless youth group songs of the age – they’re songs that name specific sins and look closely at where redemption meets the dirt, all without ever being too heady. It’s a good introduction for new listeners, and while some songs are admittedly weaker than others, there are undoubtedly some incredible tracks here. If you’re looking for a record that doesn’t hug the genre lines too closely and feels authentically redemptive, be sure to check this out.