(This review first appeared in issue 60 of Shindig! magazine)
Drag City CD / LP / Cass
On the first album released under his own name it's unclear whether the artist formerly known as White Fence is an idiot savant or enjoying a private joke. Given the album's title it may well be the latter. Even so that holds its own charms. With nursery rhyme melodies, stream of consciousness lyrics and ego-less vocals he presents himself as a potential Syd Barrett for the cassette generation.
Characterised by fragmentation and dissolution, this strange, skewed pop is not easy to like at first but gradually reveals its layers, shifting between deconstructed post-punk grooves and sentimental lo-fi balladry. Producer Cate Le Bon has had the task of assembling the song choices from a mountain of demos, which adds to the sense of detachment.
Salvation comes via the spiky guitar lines which are worthy of Wire and even Trout Mask Replica. It makes you wonder what Presley could produce should he feel more engaged.