Thursday, August 12, 2010
White Fence - White Fence
Make a Mess/Woodsist Records.
SCQ Rating: 79%
Occasionally an album emits such a sun-drenched, easy-going charisma, one needs to change the way they review it. In this case, I’m sitting out on the balcony with a strange imported beer I’ve never tried and taking in the heat as though it’ll be snowing by evening. Few records find me welcoming August for what it is – hot and dry – like White Fence’s self-titled effort, but the skill with which Tim Presley squeezes psych, folk and garage-rock into his lo-fi wading pool is downright masterful.
Does it sound too obscene or generic to compare White Fence to Loaded-era Velvet Underground, early Kinks Brit-pop and the less extravagant moments of late-period Beatles, when we know all the psychotropic drugs that influenced those records? Nah, not when the feel-good vibes of this record belong so obsessively within the narcotic boundaries of its sixteen tracks. Take how the DIY-styled jangle-rock of ‘Mr. Adams’ slides into the harsher riffs of ‘Destroy Everything’, how the battered psychedelic touchstones of ‘The Love Between’ marry fractured punk riffs on ‘Box Desease Today Bond’; White Fence is an historical slippery-slope, a smattering of influences that confuse the timeline between rock’s awakening with its intoxication on excess.
What makes this exploration more than a simple revivalist project is how Presley outshines many of mainstream’s cyclical trends without abandoning his aesthetic. ‘Hard Finish On Mirror Mile’ and ‘I’ll Follow You’, two of White Fence’s finest songwriting moments, evoke the timeless appeal of pre-Dig Brian Jonestown Massacre while ‘Who Feels Right’ illustrates a sound the Chemical Brothers have been trying to mine for twenty years (and without their top-notch equipment, at that). White Fence isn’t just crucial listening for 60s music-fans, it’s a wake-up call for people who write off lo-fi as an underdeveloped sound. If anything, Presley stretches himself a bit thin with the odd throwaway segue. Luckily, they’re part of White Fence’s shaggy production which sprinkles these progressive songs of nostalgia with the ashes of a decade best remembered by forgetting.