White Fence - Is Growing Faith - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

White Fence - Is Growing Faith

by Rich Morris Rating:6 Release Date:2011-01-24

Tim Presley, already well-versed in the ways of retro psych-rock from his days in Darker My Love and The Strange Boys, here explores his 60s folk-rock side on Is Growing Faith, the second album from his solo project, White Fence. For sure, Is Growing Faith is indebted to The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, George Harrison's Beatles songs, The Mamas & the Papas, even The Monkees, but it frequently keeps its groovy sunshine vibes smothered beneath its lo-fi, DIY production and regular outbursts of cranky noise.

So 'Get That Heart' mainlines mid-period Velvet Underground while 'Harness' and 'Body Cold' have as much affinity with amphetamine-fulled garage rock as flower power. On the other hand, 'Stranger Things Have Happened (to You)', which draws substantial inspiration from The Kinks' 'Dedicated Follower of Fashion', 'Tumble, Lies & Honesty' and 'A Pearl is Not a Diamond' are as cheesily, cheerily retro as its possible for a song to get. That doesn't mean they're not well put together and even charming. They're just pointless. It doesn't help that, despite being made up of short tracks, some of which seem more like bashed-out sketches, Is Growing Faith is too long, clocking in at 16 tracks.

The album's most interesting moments come when Presley decides to cram dissonant, disconnected sounds into the production, as he does on 'Enthusiasm', which exists somewhere between Pink Floyd's Piper at the Gates of Dawn and The Velevet's White Light/White Heat. High praise indeed, and tracks such as these are really as good as heritage fixated music can get. Then there are occasional detours from the formula, like the genuinely weird 'Mexican Twins/Life is... Too $hort', most of which sounds like a Beastie Boys skit more than anything.

But then another laid-back, Dylan-aping track like 'Where There is No Crowd' comes along, and once again, Is Growing Faith seems pretty inconsequential. Presley is clearly a very talented songwriter and musician so maybe he should heed his own advice on 'Art Investor Collector': "It's the wrong race/ but you can still run".

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