Release Date: Aug 21, 2015
Record label: Birth
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
“Collaborations don’t work,” we were told recently by FFS, the none-more-arch supergroup of Sparks and Franz Ferdinand, “I’m gonna do it all by myself. ” Two artists that have done just that for the best part of a decade are Tim Presley and Cate Le Bon, ploughing their psychedelic furrows through California and Carmarthenshire, Presley having released six albums as White Fence and Le Bon a trio of charming, folkish solo records. Although the peculiar press notes for DRINKS’ début insist that it’s “a solo project” with “…one mouth, one set of lungs, one mind and four legs,” neither artist is exactly averse to working with others.
Here’s my impression of Drinks when they got that guitar tone on 'Tim, Do I Like That Dog': 'Ah! It sounds like a rattlesnake having a seizure! Awesome!' Which, funnily enough, is more or less the way I felt about it too. Hermits on Holiday is the debut record from Drinks, the creative collaboration of Tim Presley (of White Fence, Ty Seagall, and various others), and Cate le Bon (of Cate le Bon). Understood that this is a collaborative effort, the poetically minded press release encourages us to consider it a 'solo project', which—sure, fine.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. DRINKS is the name of the new project by Tim Presley of White Fence and Cate Le Bon, a meeting of minds which seemed inevitable since Cate relocated to California to record her third album Mug Museum in 2013, and subsequently joined White Fence's touring line-up. Presley's reputation on the psych-rock scene is second to none, when you consider his early work with Darker My Love, collaborations with Ty Segall, and to date, six albums of his own under the White Fence name.
Cate Le Bon has cut an imperious figure across her three solo albums. Her strong Welsh accent puts her at a curious remove, and she allows the guitars and organs that shape her songs to thrash, but only within strictly drawn boundaries, like Television riffs remade as repeating patterns. Her music has the sense of being just so, which seems to be in her nature: 2013's Mug Museum governed memory as a clearly labeled archive.
When White Fence's Tim Presley hired Cate Le Bon to play guitar for the live incarnation of his band, he set DRINKS in motion. While touring, the two discovered the overlap in the weird psych sound of White Fence and the off-kilter folk-psych Le Bon dispenses, and they decided to record together. They started jamming with one rule in place -- neither could bring any finished songs to the sessions.
Quite what one should expect from a collaboration between Welsh indie chanteuse Cate Le Bon and US DIY psychedelic outlier Tim Presley, latterly of White Fence, is unclear, but a record that looks to the 60s, tunefully, as album opener Laying Down the Rock does, was one possibility. Instead, the bulk of Hermits on Holiday is an angular, improvisational post-punk confection, a bit more dissonant and Savages and Field Music than you’d wager. As well as intoning, Le Bon can do a mean Nico impression – on Split the Beans – while both guitarists gleefully unfurl needling melodies and non-linear structures.
Cate Le Bon and White Fence’s Tim Presley describe their first collaborative project as something akin to a single entity, with it functioning as one human. While there’s an interesting point buried deep in such vagueness – the two do seem to have an innate understanding of each other’s sound (Le Bon even played in White Fence last year) – the results are messy. When in sharp focus, the sound is utterly charming, with Le Bon’s almost trademark Welsh tones a fine match for the amp buzz and Presley’s meandering guitar lines.
The collaboration of White Fence's psychedelic erraticism and Cate Le Bon's nursery-rhyme charm isn't one that initially springs to mind as a natural pairing, yet the prospect is certainly an intriguing one. On the surface, they are very different musicians; White Fence (aka Tim Presley) is West Coast psych-rock through and through, while Cate Le Bon specialises in a far quainter type of Welsh folk. However, there is a key common denominator.
As anyone unfortunate enough to have heard Mick Jagger’s supergroup SuperHeavy will tell you, musical collaborations have been responsible for some of the most horrible records ever made. Collaborations work when the musical chemistry brings out the best in each player whilst creating something new. And DRINKS - White Fence’s Tim Presley and Cate Le Bon - works wonderfully.
Scroll down for reviews of five albums that might just have slipped under your radar this week, from Autobahn’s relentlessly dark debut to the versatile racket of Nottingham newcomers Kagoule.Drinks – ‘Hermits On Holiday’A guitar emits a long screech, drums crash randomly and Cate Le Bon ….
Drinks — Hermits on Holiday (Heavenly)Drinks is a pair of solitary songwriters working as a duo. On their own, Tim Presley and Cate Le Bon have established themselves as introverts and miniaturists, both creating songs as melodic as they are askew. Working from templates established in the 60s, with Presley’s chants (as White Fence) holding the sky-high soar of Syd Barrett and twee Pete Townshend, while Le Bon’s stoic tunes have the potent reserve of John Cale and Nico.Their work as guitarists has provided the askew part, with Presley laying a thick crust of fuzz over his creations, and Le Bon drawn towards the staircase spirals of Television and Pavement.