It’s only been a year since the sounds of Cyclops Reap first started emanating from your cool, flannel-clad neighbours’ open windows, the one who wears thick black Ray Ban Wayfarers and could pull of a moustache if he wanted. It scored your garden ridden summer days if you were lucky. You were maybe wondering if he was gonna break out that record again at some point over the next few months. You might have even considered popping round and asking him to stick it on when he invites his mates round for an evening of internationally sourced ales out on the patio, though he was already planning to do so cause it’s the sort of social lubricant he prides himself on sourcing, because of course he has extended the invitation to all the girlfriends of his friends, because even though he doesn’t know them all that well, he wants to, and he will, because he just gets along with everyone. Well, if you’ve managed to stick with that massively convoluted scenario, unfortunately for you the answer is no, he won’t be playing that album again this summer. The good news though is that it isn’t because he’s been told White Fence aren’t cool anymore, or that Garage Rock is so passé. The reason he won’t be spinning Cyclops Reap is that White Fence have a new album out, For The Recently Found Innocent, and it’s an absolute stonker.
The chosen moniker of the ever proficient primitive lo-fi rocker Tim Presley, White Fence have previously specialised in rough psychedelic fuzz mixed with a skipping 60’s hum. With For The Recently Found Innocent it very much seems their lo-fi days are gradually becoming something of the past, it being the first White Fence album recorded in actual studio space rather than a bedroom, but the 60’s are very much still a part of their present. The low tech aesthetic of the production may well have been a stylistic choice, it also may have been a result of circumstance or financial confinements, but unlike the reasoning behind that aspect of White Fence’s sound there is no doubting that the style of Presley’s song writing is simply part of his make-up. Every one of the new 13-strong batch of songs on this record don’t sound like they are influenced by rock music of the 60’s, they sound like they came directly out of the 60’s. White Fence’s sixth album in four years is a perfect replica of a great 60’s summer record, and don’t underestimate how impressive that fact is even without factoring in those facts.
For For The Recently Found Innocent, Presley recruited Garage Rock poster boy Ty Segall for production duties, having released a collaborative album Hair in 2012. “I needed something new, I needed to be free and innocent” wrote Presley in a note attached to the completed album he handed in to Drag City, his new label. “I was floating in my room. Sick of the wall Bounce-A-LuLa. I could not get high. I wanted to put some songs in someone else’s room. I wanted to see what they sounded like with a real drummer. I wanted to see what it would sound like using an Alien’s ear”. And his instincts proved to be correct. There is always a cool labouring charm to lo-fi DIY recordings, a working class championing of the musicians achievements, but it’s rare that a record will ever feel fully realised or complete when formed in such surroundings. The studio space is used acutely on this album, keeping that plucky start up allure yet smoothing out the work as a whole. It flows better than previous White Fence releases, in large part due to the fashioning out of rough and jagged edges but retaining them for a number of track and shifting them centrally like on ‘The Light’ and closer ‘Paranoid Bait’.
Lead single ‘Like That’, is a masterfully measured cut, primed for massive exposure if any ad man (or woman) worth his (or her) salt tuned in to a greater wavelength and tried being as ruggedly slick and hip as he (or she) believes himself (or herself) to be. You could write little glowing sentences like that selling any one of these tracks though; each song conjures up sunshine visions possessing their own scenic magnetism, and they’re all summer landscapes up on the same fridge door.
Tim Presley’s talents shine brighter and brighter with each release, and subsequently For The Recently Found Innocent is White Fence’s finest album to date. Presley’s desire to grow, while retaining his 60’s vibe, is central to this and you feel it will be to any future successes he encounters too. A number of artists look to recreate the sounds of era’s past and fail to embrace development, marginalising any stimulating career they may have potentially had. Tim Presley as White Fence shows there is an exciting prolonged expansive future to be had in implementing the past. And his is in the 60’s, ever advancing.
For The Recently Found Innocent is out now via Drag City.