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Father John Misty (from Chloe and the Next 20th Century available on Sub Pop Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
Joshua Michael Tillman, who goes by the nom de plume Father John Misty, has never been short on musical ambition. His albums span a wide gamut of evocative sounds, thanks to a mix of cinematic suggestion and a psychedelic sensibility, all spawned from overarched arrangements, deep drama, and grandiose designs. His efforts aren’t limited to his guise as Father John Misty in that he’s recorded with Fleet Foxes, a band called Saxon Shore and under his own aegis at J. Tillman, but it’s the Father John Misty handle that’s earned him his critical acclaim.
His latest release, Chloe and the Next 20th Century, offers ample reason why the accolades are always quick in coming. Tillman shows no reticence whatsoever when it comes to expanding both his sweep and style, whether veering towards vaudevillian designs on the album’s animated opener “Chloe” or opting for an orchestrated homage courtesy of the track that follows, the lush and lovely “Goodbye Mr. Blue”. He takes a more pervasive approach on “04” but even so, the music still manages to retain its sparkle and sheen.
Sharing the production duties with Jonathan Wilson, a musical maestro in his own right, the Misty makes full use of outsized string arrangements, resulting in a true tour-de-force that extends well beyond any usual pop precepts. “Olivado (Otro Momento)” is, as its title suggests, a Latin-style serenade while “Funny Girl” could make a fine a fit in any late-night lounge, given its big band accompaniment and its soaring strings. It, like “Only a Fool” and “We Could Be Strangers”, nod to the archival influences of the era that preceded rock and roll, when Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, and Artie Shaw held sway by serenading the masses and regaling the airwaves.
Of course, there will be those that find this musical mesh a bit bewildering, given that Father John Misty has always been seen as more of an indie auteur, well removed from any kind of traditional tapestry. On the other hand, the new album does maintain Misty’s penchant for elaboration and experimentation, qualities that are inherent in each of his outings to date. One of today’s most imaginative artists, Father John Misty has made another masterpiece. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Father John Misty from AMAZON
For more information and purchase options, please visit the Father John Misty website
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