Album Review: Father John - Misty Fear Fun

22 May 2012 | 6:04 pm | Lynn McDonnell

This album is a spectacle and the listener can celebrate the fact that cassette tapes no longer exist, pressing a single button in order to enjoy the album again and again.

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Josh Tillman, the former drummer for The Fleet Foxes, is the man behind the enigmatic sounds of Fear Fun and the pseudonym Father John Misty. Tillman has been a purveyor of all things creative and eclectic in his musical career and although this album embraces such concepts, it is also a convincing change of direction from sombre folk tunes to more spirited and melodic tracks.

If you take into consideration the very constitution of an alter ego, one would conclude that Tillman is leading a second musical life in the form of genre exploration and lyrical structure. If this is the case then this hypnotic state has aided in the production of an intense amalgamation of lyrical songs, melodic folk tales and humorous pop tunes.

Is it possible that the taking of magic mushrooms and an exploration of self have informed Fear Fun conceptually? Regardless, the album encapsulates Tillman's playful and mischievous side, yet any severe anarchy is outplayed by flawless production and intelligent musical construction.

This album is a spectacle and the listener can celebrate the fact that cassette tapes no longer exist, pressing a single button in order to enjoy the album again and again. I'm Writing A Novel is a big highlight with its Americana chords and harmonies and teasing narrative lyrics. It is a witty tale that helps the album flow through a variety of codes. This Is Sally Hatchet makes a noticeable reference to another musical alter ego – Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band – and adds to the album's playful quality. Up front, Fear Fun is an innovative album that intrigues and entertains the listener but it's also an exploration of Tillman's abilities and musical career.

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