When Josh Tillman quit his steady gig as the drummer for Fleet Foxes to resume a prolific solo career—during which he had churned out seven albums of moody, introspective folk tunes over five years—his fans were likely expecting more of the same. But Tillman discarded his old persona and re-emerged as folk-rock troubadour Father John Misty, a mysterious figure built on a heavy dose of self-mythologizing (the album’s booklet contains the novel Tillman was writing as he conceived the reinvention).
Done poorly, this dramatic about-face might have seemed contrived, but the alter ego fits Tillman just fine, thanks to his newfound sense of humour and the strength of his songwriting. Fear Fun is an evocative blend of cinematic, countrified epics (standout “Only Son of the Ladiesman”), rollicking tales of drug-fuelled adventures (“I’m Writing a Novel”), and wistful ballads (“Everyman Needs a Companion”).
Together, this diverse collection of stories reveals Father John to be not only a prolific raconteur, but an intriguing character that you’ll want to catch up with whenever he moseys into town.
Playlist picks: “Only Son of the Ladiesman,” “I’m Writing a Novel,” “Everyman Needs a Companion”
Father John Misty plays the Opera House (735 Queen St. E.) on July 12.