Father John Misty - Pure Comedy
Father John Misty
The beard may be gone but the talent that is Father John Misty still remains. It should be amazingly easy to hate Father John Misty; He is a constant hipster, doesn't follow any rules of social media engagement and more or less seems to give zero fucks. But then there is his music, his wonderful, beautiful and mesmerizing music. A singer songwriter who makes music like his would be expected to be humble, but Misty never buys in to that delusion and instead is almost hip hop level braggadocious at times. It is wonderful to hear and makes his rock and roll star shine all that brighter. Rather than focus on love and what masculinity means in a postmodern age like his previous record I Love You, Honeybear did Pure Comedy is more a reflection of the society as a whole as his fame has become more and more on the forefront of popular culture. Even without the lyrics the music Father John creates is so incredibly beautiful. "Ballad of the Dying Man" has this ending that is so inspiring and so different from anything else you are hearing today that you cannot help but fall in love. "Bridie" in similar fashion is totally different from anything else on the record but the life it has on it's own is something really special. It's such a different song sung from a really interesting perspective, and something that only Father John Misty could actually pull off. He is always looking for the thing that makes us Human, rather than the ideologies we allow to define us today.
The one issue with the record however is just how long it is. At 75 minutes it is long in general, but for it to be only 12 tracks it means that the songs often drag. "Leaving LA" is 13 minutes long, but Father John really isn't saying all that much by the end so you are just hearing the same verse again and again and again. This happens way more than it should on this record and shows that while his bravado is endearing at times, it can also manifest itself in some long ass songs. Yet being this openness is a real contrast to I Love You, Honeybear being more about the personal and psychological. Misty's constant attempt to call out what He may see as bullshit begins to run a bit thin by the hour mark, because there is just so damn much of it. The first three songs set a stage that the rest of the album can never really live up to because Father John stays mid-tempo almost throughout. But the album is vividly direct and truthful almost to a fault. I've often compared Father John Misty and Sun Kil Moon, because they have such a hard time editing themselves. Everything makes the album and that allows moments of brilliance to shine through but only if you are willing to go on the deep dive with them. Yet this album remains about laughing at the darkest moments, and finding the humor in it all, laughing at the divine joke is what Tillman is calling Pure Comedy.
8.0 out of 10