Release Date: Apr 20, 2018
Record label: Drag City
It is increasingly impossible, these days, to feel truly alone. But Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley found a way, and on their second record as DRINKS it shows. Le Bon and Presley are each psychedelic geniuses of the 2010s: the former, a wondrous Welsh singer-songwriter and soon-to-be producer of Deerhunter's new album; the latter, one of the sharper writers to emerge from the homespun California garage rock scene.
From their debut album 'Hermits On Holiday' we know that the collaborative project of Cate Le Bon and White Fence's Tim Presley strays from their own solo projects in favour of something more abstract. 'Hippo Lite' sees Drinks carry on in this same vein. Retreating to Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort (birthing the album's name) they set about recording in the presence of and with assistance from Sweet Baboo's Stephen Black.
Cate Le Bon has teetered on this precipice her entire career, always retaining, however small, a root in her folk music influences to prevent her from careening over that edge. Her first collaboration with White Fence 's Tim Presley as DRINKS on 2015's Hermits On Holiday traded very heavily on her weirdness quotient, benefiting perfectly by the leavening of Presely's pop instincts. Le Bon and Presley's second outing eschews those bright pop flavours for what one would consider a raw, post-punk field recording.
It's possible the regular goings on pertaining to daily existence can stifle one's facility for concentration when there is an attempt to complete some creative endeavor. Call this a productive vacation: it was in the Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort countryside of Southern France that Tim Presley (White Fence) and Cate Le Bon found a way to cancel out the noise and create some of their own for the second Drinks album, Hippo Lite. Apparently crafted over the course of a month between regular afternoon swims with nary a wifi signal to offer distraction and connectivity, Hippo Lite is a nod to the environs that enabled its creation.
In a case of life imitating art, Drinks decided the way to follow up their debut -- 2015's Hermits on Holiday -- was to seclude themselves in a remote French village to record its follow up. The second album from Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley carries the same sense of freedom as their first outing, this time a bit softer and more song-shaped than their debut's meanderings. Hippo Lite, named for the French village of St.
The first DRINKS album came about when fellow psychedelic travelers Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley bonded while touring and decided it made sense to record together. Hermits on Holiday was a weird and woolly record that was more experimental than psych, less song-based and more focused on sonic exploration. After making the record, the duo stayed musically intertwined, with Le Bon producing Presley's 2016 album The WiNK and the two artists touring together again.
Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley are back to serve you more DRINKS. Hippo Lite, the second release from Presley's White Fence side-project, DRINKS, numbs the '60s neo-psychedelia of 2015 debut Hermits on Holiday and instead opts for more discordant instrumentation. Hippo Lite alternates between melodious lullabies, such as "Blue From the Dark," and more dissonant, Eno-esque jams such as "Real Outside" and "Corner Shops." In all, Hippo Lite presents itself with the same downtempo, lo-fi sound as did Hermits, but the experimental nature of this new record really sets it apart from work either musician has previously released.
DRINKS is the project of two decidedly left-of-centre musicians who flirt with the foundations of pop: Welsh songwriter Cate le Bon and partner in crime Tim Presley - one of many former members of The Fall and the brains behind White Fence. On 2015 debut 'Hermits on Holiday', they successfully found a balance between pleasing art-rock experimentation and all-out self-indulgence. Follow-up 'Hippo Lite' finds the pair testing these boundaries even more, while exploring the gorgeous surroundings of a southern France town.
Separately, Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley make some of the strangest and most likable psychedelic pop music going. The former's fizzy, fidgety songs are rhythmically restless and hyper-melodic, and they seem to be getting weirder as she moves through her career. And Presley is one of the 21st century's most mutable musical chameleons. He came up in a punk band (The Nerve Agents) and piloted an incredible shoegaze group (Darker My Love) before going solo to make warped garage rock under the name White Fence.
If you've craved some terrific pop weirdness this decade, DRINKS' first album, Hermits on Holiday, should be in your regular rotation right away. The meeting of minds with Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley sounds like The Velvet Underground & Nico if you told two people to recreate that album only based on your description of how it sounds. It varied between being cheerfully scatterbrained, funny, and even quite moving.