Father John Misty – Fear Fun

Sub Pop

Fear Fun was born out of an “immobilizing period of depression” according to the sales sheet leading West Coast songwriter Josh Tillman to get into his van take “enough mushrooms to choke a horse” and start driving down the coastline with nowhere to go. Well it must have been one hell of a trip; soon Tillman changed his old stage name of J. Tillman to Father John Misty left his home of Seattle for L.A. and even announced his exit from his old band the mega-successful Fleet Foxes. Yet despite all the life changes there’s little doubt Fear Fun is the result of a Fleet Fox — even if it doesn’t come with all those sky-reaching multipart harmonies. For 12 tracks Tillman brings the adult-oriented folk rock light and breezy occasionally injecting a bit of weird here and bit of honky-tonk there. It’s a familiar formula for sure repeatedly bringing to mind decades-old Americana peddlers like Loudon Wainwright III and Waylon Jennings. But thanks to production guru Phil Ek’s work behind the boards there’s some top-notch sonics as well as more than a few touchingly personal Tillman-penned lyrics. Still while an already-established love for Fleet Foxes — not to mention a beard — is optional it is recommended.