Published on April 29th, 2012 | by greg0
Father John Misty: Fear Fun:: Review
After vacating the Fleet Foxes drummer seat, Joshua Tillman ditched his previous solo career of J. Tillman and invented the persona of Father John Misty as the replacement on his new album Fear Fun. Fear Fun is an Americana album set in the City of Angels that is chock full of songs that are about Hollywood, funerals, psychedelics, and lost souls. On Fear Fun, Tillman has crafted an album that’s a shade darker than his previous band’s output and desperately in need of an editor.
“Funtimes in Babylon” kicks things off appropriately with a somber Los Angeles-inspired tale of lost hopes and late rent that finds Tillman in a hangdog mood that subsequently never leaves the album. “Funtimes in Babylon” is a waltz aided by a helping of handclapped percussion and mandolin accenting some of Tillman’s best vocals, which recalls an amalgamation of Waylon Jennings and Roy Orbison. “Funtimes in Babylon” sets the stage for Tillman’s weirdoes to run rampant and they’re in abundance in “Nancy From Now On” and the percussive “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings.”
After “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” Fear Fun falls apart. Tillman attempts a variety of styles although nothing really sticks. Tillman’s writing and sequencing appear to be all over the map. The Los Angeles theme loses steam quickly in favor of a Grateful Dead “Friend of the Devil” rewrite on the clumsy “I’m Writing A Novel.” The lousy “This is Sally Hatchet” rips off the riff from “Taxman” and the second side becomes overly maudlin. “Only Son of the Ladiesman” and “Everyman Needs a Companion” are truly salvageable, as the remaining tracks feel half-baked which just might be true if you were to read into the lyrics of the aforementioned “I’m Writing A Novel.”