While Father John Misty watches love fall apart, he still manages to make something utterly beautiful.
Label: Bella Union
Released: 1st June 2018
The distance between the mask and Josh Tillman has been fascinating since the beginning of the paradox that is Father John Misty. Under the name “J. Tillman”, he was just another cliché wrapped up in melancholy but, under the guise of his pseudo-religious alter ego, Josh Tillman gave life to a character to show off his disdain for human nature.
Returning, for now, his fourth album as good ol’ Father J, ‘God’s Favorite Customer’ finds our sassy lothario out on his ass and losing his faith in all that drove him wild in his 2015 masterpiece ‘I Love You, Honeybear’. Safe to say, the “Honeybear Honeymoon” is well and truly over.
While not being a concept album as such, the ten tracks are suspended in limbo around various phases of heartache. Living in a hotel a million miles away from ‘Chateau Lobby’, the cocksure figure of ‘Mr Tillman’ swaggers in classic fashion; brimming with clever observations and cynicism. Despite the concerns of the concierge, he assures, backed with dreamy harmonies, that: “I’m feeling good, damn I’m feeling so fine, I’m living on a cloud above an island in my mind.”
But the concierge were right to be concerned. Flash forward (“It’s only been three weeks and a bag of speed”) to ‘The Palace’ and Mr Tillman is more at home in his pensive state and there is a new side to Father John Misty we’ve not seen before. While it’s the wacky misadventures we’ve come to love from FJM, it’s the moments where the mask slips and Josh Tillman – without sarcasm, hyperbole or pretence – is revealed that take ‘God’s Favorite Customer’ to another level.
Only a year after taking a long hard look at human nature in his ‘Pure Comedy’, the mirror is turned back inwards, and while Father John Misty watches love fall apart, he still manages to make something utterly beautiful out of it. ‘God’s Favorite Customer’ is the dark side to ‘Honeybear’ and the distance between the mask and the Josh Tillman underneath is closer than ever. Alexander Bradley