White Fence - Cyclops Reap

by Steve Reynolds Rating:7 Release Date:2013-04-29

A one-man-band is not all acoustic guitars and strapped-on harmonicas - that's the forte of a Mr Bob Dylan. Yes, the role of the one-man-band has changed significantly over the last 10 years (see electronica: Four Tet, Washed Out, Blanck Mass), but are there that many who contribute fried, acid-laden psychedelia? Enter Tim Presley aka White Fence.

While he is affectionately known for having a day job with two fully fledged bands, White Fence gives him carte blanche to effectively do what the bloody well he likes and he does so in his own kooky and idiosyncratic way. Cyclops Reap has a warming and unthreatening beginning with 'Chairs in the Dark', the arrangement leaning heavily on the jangle of The Byrds and the unkempt, syrupy sounds of The Beatles' Sgt Pepper. 'Beat' continues in a similar style before 'Pink Gorilla' expands to a slice of fuzzy country.

If Presley had been alive during Woodstock, he would have fitted in seamlessly with the other bands on the bill that day. This is proved by 'The Trouble is Trouble Never Seen', a blissed-out haze of heightened fuzz and double-tracked vocals. Cyclops Reap has a sedate, laidback vibe coursing through it, but Presley has a clever knack of continuingly being able to twist and contort his limitations to moisten your ears and pinpoint uplifting hooks. Yes, it's twee at times, but the jaunty freakout of 'New Edinburgh' recalls The Stones before they got saggy and is one big hippy wig-out. He then flicks the switch over to a more sombre strum on 'Make the Dinner at Our Shoes'.

At times you feel as if Presley is liberating himself, like a musical epiphany has descended in front of him enabling him to be much more whimsical and introspective, flexible and unorthodox. This reveals itself in his singing which is incoherent at times. After several listens to Cyclops Reap, it's fair to say that the music takes centre-stage. Original? It isn't, but then, again what is nowadays? Cuddly, fuzzy and swarmed in warmth? Yes.

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