Tim Presley is back with a cathartic seventh record under the “White Fence” moniker, as he tries to get his life back on an even keel.
“I have to feed Larry’s hawk” Tim opines in a detached, creepy, almost psychotic way. The asylum is full. Thanks for coming, I’m off to feed my bird of prey.
The opener, the title track, has a psychedelic element to it, like the incidental chimes in Willy Wonka‘s Chocolate Factory, a chilling drug inflected piano line.
And yet, he’s as happy as a sand boy next minute. ‘Phone‘ is upbeat, an almost jaunty piano tempo with the odd minor chord to offset it as, in fact, he is imploring someone to “come on the phone” as he repeatedly presses redial. His sponsor?
The whole record is centred around the piano, an instrument Presley has seldom used on his previous nine records.
He, in his own words, ran from his home in LA to escape his demons, the “hawk” in question are his addictions. The compulsion to “feed” the beast of any kind, drug, alcohol, ego, depression, we all give in to it sometimes and in different ways.
In a nutshell, it’s his therapy. A cathartic release, an explanation, an excuse. It almost seems too personal if it weren’t for the music. This sort of thing is normally accompanied by melancholy. Acoustic guitars, quiet piano, strings. Instead Tim has created a scrapbook of his thoughts, feelings, coping processes and recovery.
Churlish it would be to cast scorn on a man working through something, but there is little to get your teeth into. Some songs are mere vignettes, other prolonged wig outs, coming across as part Kurt Vile, part Sonic Youth.
The final “suite” ‘Harm Reduction‘, so named after a drug program in San Francisco, promotes a meditative state, giving the impression of an infomercial as an electronic bouncing video game style keyboard repeats on a constant loop. Maybe this is the therapy? Strange animal noises, a high pitched buzzing insect, a mosquito maybe, which whilst listening to on headphones is incredibly irritating after a few seconds.
Part Two is a slightly different bloopy noise, in a slightly different pattern, more understated. If the first part was called Morning then maybe part two is to help you get to sleep and therefore his own self help tape to assist him to battle his addictions.
To someone also in a program this may come in useful. For everyone else it’s probably not for them.
I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk is out now on Drag City.