Plenty of lo-fi pop records suggest the artists couldn't be bothered to read the owner's manual to their portastudios before they tried to make a record, but the opening cut on White Fence's self-titled debut album, "Mr. Adams," uses the limitations of a home recording setup to produce a strikingly accurate re-creation of a mid-'60s garage rock record, and the results could probably be dropped into a random volume of the Pebbles or Teenage Shutdown series with no one ever the wiser. The rest of White Fence is never quite as inspired, but it's good enough to suggest that Tim Presley, the man behind White Fence, has a lot more going for him than the average guy who has accumulated some ideas along with his cheap instruments and recording gear. There are plenty of psychedelic influences floating through White Fence's 16 tracks, but Presley also has an ear for simple but ear-catching melodies, and the songs here are engaging enough to give the music a strong framework when the performances periodically drift off into the ozone. "Sara Snow" is a lovely bit of psych-leaning folk-rock, "Destroy Everything" and "Box Disease/Today Bond" are a pair of thundering into-the-red rockers, "Slaughter on Sunset Strip" makes inspired use of vintage distortion boxes, and the final numbers, "Sick Doctor Blues" and "Be Right Too" amble off into another consciousness with stoned good cheer. Presley's production ideas are rudimentary but they're well-founded, and he's clever enough to make a record where the fuzzy, amateurish engineering works in his favor while his songs, his instrumental skills, and his vocals are good enough to carry this music over the occasional glitches. Here's hoping that Presley has more good ideas where this came from, and possibly a new friend who's an unobtrusive recording engineer.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming