Is there anything Darker My Love’s Tim Presley cannot do? In between working on the upcoming DML album and providing guitar and additional vocals for the Strange Boys, he has saved some of his wildest material for solo project; White Fence. Consisting of outtakes of songs written for the Strange Boys or potential DML songs, his demo project WF succeeds as a minimalist wonder of vast influence and a damn alluring immediacy.
The marble-mouthed opening utterances of “Mr. Adams” echo through the tin can alley recesses of your dome. “Slaughter of the Sunset Strip” rips pages from the mid sixties Elektra catalogue sound back when Arthur Lee was still convincing label head Jac Holzman to jump on the rock n’ roll bandwagon rather than Vanguard Records style folk. “I’ll Follow You” shines like a British Invasion psilocybin tea afternoon. Now toss in some earnest wide-eyed vocals, Toys R Us pianos and freakout guitar reminiscent of everything you love about ’67. For all the Syd Barret comparisons I’ve been reading, no one has said Bo Diddley about the radical influence by lo-fi indie rockers, Tronics. This connection resounds within the squealing guitar and incessant two key organ drone on “The Love Between.” Then you are treated to the gentle, sublime, sunny daisy chain ballad “Sara Snow” before the Slaughter and the Dogs vernacular on“Baxter Corner.”
“The Gallery” evokes a tribute to the time between Presley’s White Fence project and sixties influences. The warped backing track tape contorts the twee, “let me tell you your fortune” refrain evoking the primitive blissfulness of anyone from the 53rd and 3rd label. “Tildas” will rock you with the Os Mutantes sit-in sway vis-à-vis “Ave Lucifer” with punctuated organ chirps and bleary vocals. The mood is broken with a burst of electric guitar and tumbling guitar fills and noisy alpha male vocals that makes up “Destroy Everything.” The toy pianos and Sérgio Dias Baptista playfulness on “Ring Around a Square” that careens into the 50 second punk bop “Box Desease/Today Bond.”
From here on out, Presley’s sound switches to sparse, murky 90s “alternative” demos. Both “Hard Finish on Mirror Mile” and “A Need You” sounds like they have radio friendly, squeaky clean and mastered pop counterparts. Not to say the songs don’t stand on their own, but lend a fabricated legacy to a band that would want to alternate between existing in mid 60s or mid 90s cultures of cool. Even the weird and rough qualities of the recordings are harnessed and utilized to enhance the work, such as the chopped up microphone feedback mixed between the whirl of chimes and glassy eyed guitar on “Sick Doctor Blues.” “Be Right Too” has a lazy Richard Ashcroft attitude that makes for some of the better Brit pop revision this listener has heard in quite some time.
After listening to White Fence, my interest in the future Darker My Love album has piqued. For some insights and sneak previews into the mind of Tim Presley and DML cohorts, check out this Dirty Laundry Presents video of them touring about on the SXSW beat.