Father John Misty – Fear Fun

 This is not the first solo effort from Joshua Tillman. However it is the first release under his new moniker Father John Misty and it does have a feeling of renewal or even rebirth. The former Fleet Foxes drummer has branched out with Fear Fun, presenting a layered and diverse folk rock record engaging from the moment it begins.
“Fun times in Babylon / that’s what I’m counting on,” states Tilman in the opening track, finishing with a proclamation, “Look out Hollywood here I come” which clearly sees references to Tilman’s recent move from Seattle to California. Throughout the record the lyrics don’t shy away from the promiscuous and ridiculous that seem commonplace for Father John Misty.
“I’m Writing a Novel” is the clear standout track from Fear Fun, from the opening line to the rolling feel and catchy melody. This song immediately takes a hold of you with its beat and conveys Tilman’s sense of fun not only in the lyrics but in the music as well. 
An underrated aspect of this record is the clarity and tone of Tilman’s voice. When it reaches its edge and almost turns into scream is when it’s most surprising. “Well, You Can Do It Without Me”, a soul country number, best displays this exciting aspect of his voice and also a great example of the diversity on this record.
There is certainly a strong folk feeling towards the beginning but it really plays on many aspects of rock. The softer moments are highlighted by the changes in feel and instrumentation. The crescendo at the end of “This Is Sally Hatchet” takes on epic rock proportions whereas finisher “Everyman Needs A Companion” uses choral singing  to great effect similar to that of Fleet Foxes.
This album certainly deserves close attention; every complete listen after the first is more and more enjoyable.
by Gabriel Andrews

May 18th 2012
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