Review: "Family Perfume Vol. 2" - White Fence

Family Perfume Vol. 2 - White Fence
(2012 Woodsist)
  With Family Perfume Vol. 2 being his third release in just under two months, (Vol. 1 and his collaboration with Ty Segall came out in April) it may seem like Californian Tim Presley, founder of solo project White Fence, is rushing himself. After all, ideas just don't grow on trees, especially in the music industry. Somehow, though, Presley manages to stay fresh and create a 70s FM radio sound that's neither generic nor cliche. In fact, Family Perfume Vol. 2 is White Fence's most mature effort since its conception in 2010.

  If you've picked up the more recent offerings from the White Fence catalog, you may be asking yourself "Do I really need more White Fence?" The answer is easy. Of course you do! While the titles and covers of the Family Perfume series are nearly identical, volumes 1 and 2 are more like distant cousins than they are twins. While they both belong in the the same time period, Vol. 2 is the folky and laid back successor to the gritty, guitar driven first half of Family Perfume. Not only does Vol. 2 sound better than its counterpart, but it's also much more exciting and inventive.

  Sparks of Presley's vast creativity can be seen right from the quirky opener, "Groundskeeper's Rag," which sounds like it could be pulled directly from the Beach Boys' Smile sessions with its Wilson-esque strings and unconventional background sound effects. However, although the Boys seem to be a major influence here, (samples and effects galore!) White Fence creates his own style with his archaic recording methods. Vol. 2 better showcases Presley's formidable songwriting ability than its predecessor by lugging out the ol' acoustic guitar more often than the one would usually find on a White Fence album as can be seen on the country fried "Anna" and the the campfire-ready "Stomach Sexes."

  Another feature that separates Vol. 2 from Vol. 1 is its sparsity. While each song of the first half of Family Perfume hits the listener with a barrage of sound, there room left over for silence on the second half. "It's Confusing When You Wake Up." features mainly just a bass and acoustic guitar, a stark contrast from the heavily layered "Do You Know Ida Know?" from this April. "Be at Home" is the must have track here, with airy guitar pluckings and gorgeous interplay between the two heavily distorted vocal tracks. For any fan of lo-fi pop, White Fence has the potential to be your new favorite band. Just let him grow on you.