Music Review: White Fence, White Fence (Reissue)

Published on July 23rd, 2013 in: Music, Music Reviews, New Music Tuesday, Reviews |

By Less Lee Moore


If you’ve become a fan of Tim Presley’s loopy, psychedelic White Fence but haven’t yet heard the eponymous debut, you’re in luck. Drag Records offshoot God? has reissued the album on vinyl. It’s probably the best format for a White Fence album.

Presley, who’s collaborated with garage rock overachiever Ty Segall, takes a laid back, yet well-constructed approach to White Fence. As meandering and nonsensical as the songs may seem, they are not the result of a lack of ability.

“I’ll Follow You” is a perfect example of this. It’s got a gentle yet spooky vibe and the xylophone at the end sounds like it’s coming from the back of the room, lending a tremendously airy quality to the tune, which sounds like Meddle-era Pink Floyd if Syd Barrett were still in the band. It’s also the longest song on the album, clocking in at almost four minutes.

And that’s possibly my biggest complaint about White Fence. It’s obvious that Presley knows what he’s doing, particularly from a mixing and engineering standpoint. It’s actually preferable if you can strap on some giant headphones or sandwich your head between the speakers. Yet several of the songs don’t linger around enough to fully engage the listener. Just when you’re grooving along to the snippet of a melody, the song ends or sputters out. (This is fine if it’s 110 degrees outside and you have no air conditioner or energy to move.)

A notable exception, besides “I’ll Follow You” is the structured “Ring Round A Square,” with its spoken word chorus surrounded in warped reverb. At times, White Fence is reminiscent of the early, anarchic sounds of Beck or the shoegazey period in the Lilys discography. The heavier tunes like “Baxter Corner,” “Destroy Everything,” and “Box Disease – Today Bond” are also quite good. I only wish that the song structures were a bit more foregrounded.

Still, this self-titled release is perfect for one of my favorite activities: lying on the floor, parked in front of the stereo, listening to music. Presley’s high-pitched, ghostly voice is a lovely counterpoint to music that sounds like the master tapes were submerged in water at some point.

White Fence was reissued by God? on July 16 and is available on the Drag City website.

Tour Dates:
7/30 Las Vegas, NV – The Bunkhouse ~
7/31 Reno, NV – Holland Project ~
8/2 Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon Festival
8/3 Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon Festival
8/4 Seattle, WA – Neumo’s ~
8/5 Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret ~
8/10 Los Angeles, CA – The Troubadour ~
8/11 San Diego, CA – Casbah ~

* with Mac DeMarco
^ with Father John Misty
~ with Jessica Pratt

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