White Fence’s Family Perfume Vol. 1 and 2 contains an epic assortment of 28 tracks — a batch that becomes even more impressive when taken into account that Tim Presley, the sole man behind White Fence, reportedly whittled down the collection from a total of more than 80 songs. Presley has indeed been a busy man — beyond these two solo works, he also recently collaborated with fellow face-melting rocker Ty Segall on the charming and clean-cut LP, Hair. Fans of that record will likely find a lot to like here, as Family Perfume solidifies Presley’s ability to compose tight, colorful and coherently laced jams.
When taken in small chunks — say one song or less — the ’60s rock vibe is tough to ignore, and influences such as Buffalo Springfield or Hollies jump to mind. However, when consumed in its entirety, the subtler thematic and musical nuances begin to appear, helping distance the release from a decade of peace and love towards a complex collage of modern times. For instance, on Vol. 2, a lightly distorted and pleasant love song, “Anna” transitions into the tape-looped vocals and reverb-laden single, “Be At Home.” The layered lyrics provide more than just a cool effect — they’re part of a larger illusion that fits Presley simultaneously between various personalities and viewpoints. His voice shifts and ebbs from track to track without ever losing the recognizable cadence and cool delivery.
Presley spent more than a year recording and reworking the tracks that appear on Family Perfume Vol. 1 and 2, and the time spent was funneled into a wide range of subject material on the albums. For the most part the songs sulk in temporary pleasures and beautiful imagery, once again reminiscent of ’60s influences. Presley hits some high points on the albums when he extends his perspective beyond the immediate touch of a lover or view of a tiger lily. Both “It Will Never Be” and “King of the Decade” are delicately crafted and brooding songs that instantly captivate while also revealing deeper intricacies after multiple spins.
These two highlight tracks are split between Vol. 1 and 2, respectively, consistent with the overall uniformity between the two discs. Would it have been possible to pick the top 14 tracks from the two volumes and release a stellar 45-minute album? Yes, but in a way that’s an unfair question. At the end of the day Presley is on a mission to create music and delivery the best songs he can. The curation of songs takes a backseat to the songs themselves — each one stands as a testament to his attention to detail and fine ear for exploring different sounds within the distorted, 4-track arena in which he plays. White Fence and compatriots such as Ty Segall, Sic Alps and Woods represent a refreshing movement of artists that wander through both familiar and foreign soundscapes while always maintaining the integrity of generations past.
Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield
Hollies – Butterfly
Woods – At Echo Lake
Stream: White Fence – “Be at Home”