White Fence’s Tim Presley, alongside John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees) and Ty Segall have the neo- psych thing pretty sewn up: multiple bands, album’s seemingly released every other week, the history of the psychedelic sounds of their San Francisco (Dwyer/Segall) and California (Presley) bases pulsing through their veins.
Presley however, feels no need to ghettoise his psychedelic reference points - by the sound of it he has just as much love for the Rubble compilations from the UK as he does for the more celebrated Nuggets from the States, and if there’s any further proof of his Anglification needed, he - alongside a member of one of his other bands, Darker My Love - even found themselves as two fifths of The Fall for their last decent album (to date), 2007’s Reformation Post T L C. They lasted just one album before being ousted, obviously.
For The Recently Found Innocent is his first album for longstanding alt-rock label Drag City, and also the first recorded outside of the comfort of his own bedroom studio, an enforced change after an aborted first attempt at laying these tracks down. This change of environment doesn’t necessarily make his work any more polished, but by enlisting Ty Segall on drums and production duties (the second time they’ve collaborated following 2012’s Hair album, released under their own names) to help carry the load, a fuller sound is apparent, and with the majority of the tracks not extending beyond a very 60’s two minute/thirty second length, the fourteen songs here are slim and focused.
For his fifth long player as White Fence, things have remained very much the same musically. There’s no denying that Presley wears his musical influences on a really big fluorescent badge. The lumbering swag of “Sandra” is some skew-whiff nod to Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”. “Like That”, a vigorous jagged ode to the crapness of being broke: “Clean and full and never hungry, want to live that, pay for things and not feel sickened, want to live that!” is a track he wanted to delete through being embarrassed by its poppyness. No need for shame here - it’s a gloriously twee re-imagination of “Substitute” by The Who, the sound of whom is also apparent on “Anger! Who Keeps You Under” which uses a similarly dramatic blaze of guitars utilized on their track “I Can See For Miles”, whilst “Hard Water” and “Paranoid Bait” both have Presley putting on his finest Syd Barrett voice, the latter even uses the similar lysergic guitar wash so effective on Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive”.
Elsewhere, they excel in bleary eyed, limp haired 60’s fuzz: “Arrow Man” is a Stooges’-esque take on frenetic garage rock and “The Light” is amphetamine laced mod-pop, both tracks harking back to White Fence’s own feedback laced past. “Wolf Gets Red Faced”, an almost epic six minutes long is a druggy suite of musical snippets, George Harrison’s Abbey Road era guitar work, the bummed out rock of The Pretty Things and solemn pianos cribbed from “Cabinessence” by The Beach Boys, a coating of cassette hiss giving it an even more genuine 1967 sheen.
All of this could, of course, be classed as being derivative record collector rock. But just because what is currently spinning on Presley’s turntable manifests itself in the music he makes doesn’t mean he’s on some mass plagiaristic musical mission - it’s more like he’s invading the cortex of the plastic inevitable, an exploration of which reaps some ‘groovy’ results (man).