Father John Misty - Pure Comedy: a seriously impressive return by Josh Tillman

Thu, Apr 6, 2017, 09:30


Pure Comedy

Father John Misty

Bella Union

Singer / Songwriter

Pure Comedy, the good father told the New York Times, “is like a secular gospel album . . . about survival and love is the substance of survival”.

He should know. The son of Maryland Pentecostal parents, Josh Tillman left religion’s suffocating embrace to play “sad bastard” folk music and later drums with Fleet Foxes before discovering, in the character of Father John Misty, a sense of life’s absurdity and dark humour. I Love You Honeybear (2015) was celebrated for its focus on male anxieties, and Tillman now extends his reach with these 13 tracks, skewering the “rotted core of internet culture”, technology and false gods of every hue with a mixture of ballad and buffoonery.

The result is a stately blend of crafted high pop and reflexive ruminative reflection, ebbing and flowing along with plaintive piano, sweeping strings and a voice that is scarily redolent of Elton John. Minimalist it ain’t, but it sure is impressive.