Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear
The working relationship between Josh Tillman and his stage alias Father John Misty is far from straightforward. The sardonic, navelgazing narrative of I Love You Honeybear exploits this conceit to full advantage as Tillman treads an enjoyably thin line between poignant reflection and ribbing the #firstworldproblems of modern American culture.
Much like employing an ensemble cast, Tillman picks and chooses from the archives of US musical history, borrowing a country twang, nervous ‘80s electronica or a sun-drenched West Coast vibe to storytell as it suits him: but it never once sounds like simple mimicry. The production is grand and glorious, aping the spaciousness of dusty road Americana without sounding overwrought… Or, if it does, you know that it’s entirely intentional.
That said, Father John Misty’s unavoidable self-awareness has the potential to wear a little thin. The tragi-comic Bored in the USA even has a laugh-track: Is it a witty underscoring of honest irony, or just a smirk of self-indulgence? But with lines like, 'She says like, literally, music is the air she breathes' on a track titled The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt. we fear that if you’re not laughing with him, he’s laughing at you.