Father John Misty

Fear Fun (Sub Pop)

Phases & Stages

Father John Misty

Fear Fun (Sub Pop)

Josh Tillman bears an old soul. And not just in his wise-beyond-his-years demeanor. He's crotchety, riddled with existential angst and a dimming worldview. On his Sub Pop debut, the self-anointed and self-aware Father John Misty bemoans everything from his birth name ("Everyman Needs a Companion") to the petroleum it takes to press vinyl records ("Now I'm Learning To Love the War"). Fear Fun is that glorious bummer, steeped in the pastoral warmth of Laurel Canyon ("O I Long To Feel Your Arms Around Me"), Harry Nilsson's warped balladry ("Misty's Nightmares 1 & 2"), wry country soul ("Tee Pees 1-12"), and Sixties pop grandeur – often all in the same song ("Nancy From Now On"). Tillman's first post-Fleet Foxes album offers a natural extension of his profane trinity for Austin's Western Vinyl – the gold rush of 2009's Vacilando Territory Blues, close companion Year in the Kingdom, and 2010's stark confessional, Singing Ax – only wilder and woollier, with fuller production and backing by psych-folk contemporary Jonathan Wilson. The main attraction remains Tillman's stunning voice – capable of converting the harshest skeptics – but there's a newfound narrative streak at work here, too. His novella Mostly Hypothetical Mountains is reproduced in the liner notes and most tracks boast absurd subtitles, most tellingly the sprawling "I'm Writing a Novel," aka "Believe Me, No One Will Mistake You for a Woodsman (Once We All Have To Live There and the Actual Woodsmen Declare Marshall Law)." Black humor, demons, g-o-d, easy women: Welcome to the cult of Father John Misty. (Father John Misty blesses Mohawk, Saturday, May 26.)

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Father John Misty
Friday ACL Fest 2018 Record Reviews
Father John Misty
God's Favorite Customer (Record Review)

Kahron Spearman, Oct. 5, 2018

Phases & Stages
Father John Misty
I Love You, Honeybear (Record Review)

Luke Winkie, April 24, 2015

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
William Harries Graham
Jakes (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, April 12, 2019

Texas Platters
Rebecca Loebe
Give Up Your Ghosts (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, April 12, 2019

More by Austin Powell
Record Review: The Young
Record Review: The Young

Aug. 22, 2014

Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Pickathon Polishes Off No. 16
Oregon fest boasts IPAs, ATXs, camping, and sustainability

Aug. 4, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Father John Misty

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle