Friday, April 30, 2010

Tighty Whitey

White Fence and the sprawling sixteen track debut album of the same name are the solo creation of Tim Presley, who sings in Darker My Love and plays in The Strange Boys. It's out on Woodsist now and, as you might imagine, an indistinct insect-like falsetto is part of the deal. But so is totally classic sunny-day sixties pop. Yeah, sometimes like Love, but more often like Donovan and The Zombies and Gerry and The Pacemakers and the blurry ghosts of a bunch of obscure British beat dudes.

You never get to hear the lyrics very clearly but Presley does experiment quite a bit with different interesting methods of concealing them. In among the streams of delicate strumming you can catch bits of sweet and strange nothings that don't add up to much. There's something explicitly sociopathic in the way he never really completes a thought or commits to making sense. "I'll Follow You" is almost heartfelt but doesn't quite get there. The tension this creates throughout the album is a big part of its beauty. And it is a beauty.

Most of it is lovely drifting guitar melody, real melody, accompanied by light hand-held percussion (tinkly things and rattly things), organ, and a bit of dirt. That is until "Baxter Corner" which is just a punk song, or almost a punk song. It is shouty and mumbly and pissed off and freaked out and there is a beat. The rest of the album meanders between this and the sunnier side in a way that is both terrific and unnerving. Whenever he breaks into a run with flat out drums and guitars it seems to collapse the timeline that stretches between the British invasion and early punk and this summer. It's a neat trick.

Especially if you are a Greg Ashley fan or a Dutchess and the Duke fan and you have worn out
Sunset / Sunrise, I recommend picking this up. Any track on White Fence would be a great centerpiece for any summer mix, whether composed to celebrate the fair weather, or to weather the foul. It has the feeling of a plot-less epic, like, it could be the psychedelic soundtrack for a movie about an English garage band getting deep into trouble after uncovering a sinister secret in a beach house while on tour in southern California.

What I really mean is that you should take the album to the beach with you and get into some trouble.

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