White Fence: “White Fence”

Much to love from the Woodsist label these past few months, and this debut from White Fence is especially great. White Fence is a guy called Tim Presley, who also seems to have some kind of role in Austin’s Strange Boys; coming, I should plug again, to Club Uncut on June 24.

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Much to love from the Woodsist label these past few months, and this debut from White Fence is especially great. White Fence is a guy called Tim Presley, who also seems to have some kind of role in Austin’s Strange Boys; coming, I should plug again, to Club Uncut on June 24.



“White Fence” sounds much more of a bedroom project – it’s incredibly lo-fi and distorted in places. Nevertheless, Presley is pretty much a rock classicist in his songwriting, and once you’ve adjusted to the waywardness and fuzz, these are terrific songs: spindly and psychedelic, one-man garage rocking, lysergic balladry, damaged jangle and so on.

In fact, it’s a measure of Presley’s gifts that the comparisons which often spring to mind when I play “White Fence” are not predicated on the sonics – there’s little temptation to namedrop early Sebadoh or even his contemporaries like Woods, Ganglians and so on – but to the ‘60s pantheon. Straight off, the opening “Mr Adams” rings like The Byrds, albeit an unsteady Byrds in constant danger of collapsing in on themselves, before a breakbeat unexpectedly drives the song off on a pacey tangent.

And so it goes on: a dazed stumble through a canonical record collection. By track four, “I’ll Follow You”, he’s cranked up an insistent, creaky organ and is having a fine crack at Nuggetsy psych (imagine Ariel Pink fixating on ? & The Mysterians rather than ‘80s FM radio, maybe). By track five, “Sara Snow”, he’s channelling Syd Barrett, perhaps Skip Spence, with something in the neighbourhood of aplomb. “The Gallery” is akin to listening to The Hollies on a totally warped old seven.

The whole thing works brilliantly, though. It might not be the most innovative musical plot to betray love of The Kinks (“Hard Finish On Mirror Mile”) or, hey, The Beatles (“Be Right Too”), but Presley does so with the dual advantages of neat songs and genuinely arresting sound design. A couple of times (“Baxter Corner” and the 54 seconds of “Box Disease/Today Bond”), he moves through the gears to try out DIY punk, and comes out sounding like something from one of the “Messthetics” comps.

Mostly, though, White Fence remain happily in a sort of dreamlike, misremembered ‘60s. “Destroy Everything” is playing again now, and it’s wonderful. You can find it on the White Fence Myspace, with a bunch of these other songs. Let me know what you think.

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