Father John Misty – Fear Fun (2012)

Simple one-sentence review: if you love Fleet Foxes, you’ll love Father John Misty’s Fear Fun. It’s pretty much as easy as that because Father John Misty is former Foxes drummer J. Tillman’s new project (and, apparently, persona) and there’s no getting around the fact that the two sound, for the most part, very similar.

Misty, however, offers a more stripped down approach, forgoing the haunting, layered vocals of Fleet Foxes, allowing Tillman’s strong voice to be the focus, but musically the two bands tread a similar ground – folky tunes driven primarily by acoustic guitar and laid-back percussion, if maybe Misty is a little more upbeat. Witness the almost disco beat of “Nancy From Now On,” something hard to imagine the Foxes fitting into their musical landscape, yet it fits right in here.

Where Father John Misty diverges most refreshingly from the Fleet Foxes mold is that Tillman is free to incorporate some humor into the proceedings in much the way that George Harrison would. It’s a near constant throughout the album, not to its detriment, however.

This isn’t comedy music. Tillman simply felt free to write wry, sarcastic stories, in opposition to the dark, sometimes somber output of his former band. Despite (or maybe due to) its light-hearted nature, it’s hard to see how Fleet Foxes fans aren’t going to flock to Father John Misty.

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Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

One Comment

  1. this record has been getting a ton of airplay on my local (totally awesome) radio station.

    i’m a little bummed that he left Fleet Foxes. this stuff does sound like them, but maybe with the Beach Boys influences a little more out front.

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