Undisputed musical genius, J. Tillman howls every inch of his brilliance into his solo project, Father John Misty. Former Fleet Foxes drummer, Tillman pursued his heavy voiced alter-ego after a literal and figurative trip along the West coast. As he drove, he began piecing together a novel that eventually took a turn towards a musical rendition of his experiences. And Father John Misty was born.
Tillman’s premier album, Fear Fun, is surprisingly humorous for a man whose talents we’re used to seeing in a far more somber light. The lightheartedness seems to be reflective of his move from Seattle to the sunshine and quirk of Los Angeles and so far, it’s working to his advantage. His echoing vocals grate against the playful, albeit haunting, tone of his tracks, but FJM still manages to suggest a vulnerability not yet heard before now. Fear Fun feels a lot like a battle against whatever demons Tillman faces on a regular basis. Some listeners will stick around to fight them with him, and some will abandon the task, but his music sure as hell makes a mark on your radar any way you confront it.
[Father John Misty performs from 7:30 to 8:30 pm on Friday, May 24 at the Bigfoot stage.]