To understand Father John Misty is to first understand the mastermind behind it all. After fleeing Seattle and heading down to Los Angeles, the former Fleet Foxes drummer, Josh Tillman, metamorphosed into the draft moniker, semi-anxious front man, Father John Misty. Willing to leave a band at the height of its popularity for a solo career, adumbrates the release of Fear Fun (Subpop) with a sense of confusion, intrigue and promise.
Yet as idiosyncratic as Tillman is, Fear Fun appears to share the essence of the indie folk of Fleet Foxes that he just left. Immediately with “Funtimes in Babylon,” one is reminded of Tillman’s roots musically with gentle guitar strings and beautifully light vocals, but Fear Fun holds a much darker narrative than one might expect. Tales of funerals and bodies, to “Tee Pees 1-12” apprising of a first date, to kidnapping and love, to the depressed-obfuscated “O I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me,” you long to see where Tillman takes you next. With 12 songs on the album, there’s no telling where Tillman will carry one to.
With a sensational blending of mellifluous folk, a dash of dark Laurel Canyon eccentricity, and the wanderlust of reinvention, Fear Fun is the complete product of Tillman’s environment and influences, both past and present.