Now a fixture within the realm of California-dwelling garage rockers– and overwhelmingly accomplished as the guitarist for Darker My Love, working with the Strange Boys and the Fall, and set to release the highly anticipated collaborative album Hair with San Francisco’s Ty Segall—the hermetic Tim Presley still writes and records obsessively as his moniker White Fence, all from within the confines of his Echo Park apartment. Then again, the name White Fence itself conjures thoughts of an intriguing duality, pristinely structured at first glance but evocatively complex upon closer look.
The unsuspecting Family Perfume Vol. 1, the first component to double album Family Perfume Vol. 1 & 2, embodies the organic stream-of-consciousness sound that has defined Presley’s preceding works. However, the factor that sets White Fence apart from Woodsist peers such as the Fresh & Onlys and Ganglians are Presley’s idiosyncratic vocals, gleaming with a stunning versatility. A cross between the sleepy loveliness of John Lennon and Bob Dylan’s folk ramblings, among others, the expansive range of Presley’s vocals all coexist beautifully on Family Perfume Vol. 1, exuding from raw melodies — at times the centerpiece of softer tracks such as “Balance Yr Heart,” later to wash over lofi, warped-to-perfection punk.
As with previous release …Is Growing Faith?, White Fence’s newest displays a delirious fluctuation in sounds, often within single songs, all the while never deviating from Presley’s enigmatic sense of self. Dynamic opener “Swagger Vets and Double Moon” appropriately sets the tone of the album, a melange of psychedelia, crunchy garage rock and distorted punk. The infectious “Long White Curtain” portrays Presley’s penchant for fusing disciplines, a straight clash between the ‘60s era tendencies of The Mummies and contemporary garage/psychedelic standouts Thee Oh Sees.
With “Do You Know Ida Know,” Presley uncannily presents his peculiar brand of sunny-yet-grimy folk, the kind that turns up dirt under your fingernails. Yet just when you think you have White Fence figured out, Presley floors you again with merely a shrug. At first folksy, seven-minute “It Will Never Be” quickly melts into spacey krautrock reminiscent of Amon Duul II, propelling you directly into a soaring state of acid-stained psychedelia.
Family Perfume Vol. 1 wafts with a brilliant array of aromas, drifting from atmospheric psychedelia to homegrown folk melodies that leave a lingering sweetness in your mouth. Presley gives you the inevitable feeling of yearning amidst his honest release, inciting an intense nostalgia without ever coming off as contrived or forced. Driven forward with the frenetic thread of garage rock that Presley has crafted from the recesses of his innermost self, Family Perfume Vol. 1 paints a portrait of an artist’s restlessness, one that can’t be comprehended but only experienced.