White Lung, The White Stripes, Whitesnake—bands associated with the blank colour aren’t exactly uncommon, but White Fence may have chosen the most boring object of the spectrum to name themselves after. In a way, it fits: suburban, functional, but in no way a work of art, Tim Presley’s latest, For The Recently Found Innocent, is about as boring as psych rock can get while still maintaining an association with Ty Segall.
Inspired heavily by Brit Invasion pop, songs like “Anger! Who Keeps You Under?” and “Like That” might have you convinced that solo artist Presley was a Liverpool ex-pat instead of a California dreamer. Presley, the sole talent behind White Fence’s recorded output, spins a lethargic slur over his vocals that cries apathy over songs whose content deals with much the same output as early Beatles albums. Previously of punk act The Nerve Agents and psych band Darker My Love, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Presley’s solo career suffers from too linear a focus. The production, when it doesn’t cop out to the west coast “lo-fi” sticker, mimics so uncannily the techniques of the 1960s that it might be uniquely puzzling if it weren’t so damnably obvious.
For The Recently Found Innocent isn’t a bad record, nor is White Fence a delusion of a talented songwriter—instead, it’s simply a disappointment for those deservedly expecting something a little more. It borrows in ounces from Patrick Flegel’s band Cindy Lee, minus the pueblo rustlings and confessionals, and moves in the same vein as Richard Catwrangleur’s 2013 record Raise Ravens, and fans of either might find some ear candy in this retro-flavoured 14-track.
As the sixth album under the White Fence monicker, it is ultimately a shame that Presley hasn’t had some divine inspiration channelled from his California cohorts. The 2012 collaboration between White Fence and Ty Segall, Hair, combined the noise-rock charm and wit of Segall with Presley’s flavour and charisma in a way that made sense—but if you strip away the soul, as …Found Innocent does, all you’re left with is a dusty reference.