Tim Presley is a confusing man. He’s got so many projects going at once you wonder if the dude even has time to come up for air. Can’t complain though can we, as he keeps churning out the hits. White Fence seems like the backbone for everything he does though, so its odd that Is Growing Faith comes at this point in his career. Conjecture aside, he continuously churns out albums chock full of nostalgic classic pop sounds, benefitting us all.
Immediately, one can complain that the only thing that makes this a modern album is that you can tell the production value is minimal, but that’s precisely why White Fence seems steps beyond their fellow peers in when it comes to low-budget recordings. You can make out audible pops and crackles when you jam the vinyl, and more so when you’ve got those iPod buds in your ears. In a way, what might seem like laziness actually brings you closer to the music itself, giving it a more natural feel.
If you make it past the first twenty seconds of a song like “Sticky Fruitman Has Faith” you’re going to get rewarded. That California jangling guitar from the late sixties just sort of meanders in and out of the track, with a little bit of jangling boogie to make it all gel together. Or maybe you decide to take a little bit of a trip with “A Pearl is Not a Diamond,” a track that definitely harkens back to the early days of what would later become Americana. Personally, I get a kick out of the little stuttering guitar solo awkwardly placed in the background–put on headphones and listen closely.
One of the things that makes Tim and White Fence so interesting is that you see his influences all over the place, and I really mean all over the place. There’s “Tumble, Lies and Honesty,” which really has to be given credit for it’s use of the water drop effect, presumably made by one flicking their finger against the chick. Tie that odd rhythmic percussion in with the gentle strumming of the guitar and you can definitely find yourself a magical piece of pop. Even more interesting is listening to “Stranger Things Have Happened,” which feels like an allusion to the most recent work of Tim’s other band, Darker My Love. It’s remarkably similar to the sound, even down to the most intricate bending of guitar strings.
But, to top it all off, there’s still a bit of angst inside this psychedelic world of classic rock. “Harness” is a gritty little number, one that might draw similarities to Fresh and Onlys, but it’s got a bigger sense of urgency to it, that is until the chorus. However, the chorus has a bit of brightness to it, something that really made this song stand out in my mind. Perhaps you can draw similarities within the album, as a sonic connection definitely exists on the earlier Is Growing Faith track “Enthusiasm.”
Damn you Tim Presley! How can one write a review of your White Fence albums? They’re all over the place, going between americana, psychedelia and even hints of punk. I love it all, every single minute. In time, I have a feeling that Is Growing Faith will be a record that reveals more and more to me with each listen, but as it stands right now, I’ve had enough listens (17 to be exact) to know this thing is a rocking good time.
Download: White Fence – Lillian (Won’t You Play Drums) [MP3]