J. Tillman's new solo outfit, Father John Misty wastes no time taking chances. In his debut full-length, the former Fleet Foxes drummer favors many of the qualities of his former band: the atmospheric vocals, the acoustic intensity, and the stress on lyrics. This time, though, Tillman plays by his own rules, and he's both bold and inventive. The quirky instrumentation, like his prevalent use of the mandolin, establishes a regal tone with the very first track, "Funtimes in Babylon." The album's greatest charm, however, is in Tillman's literate writing. His observant train of thought brings these songs back down to earth. On the single "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" Tillman laments, "someone's got to help me dig," drawing a connection between love and mortality and admitting to "Adderall and weed in my veins." The warmth of Tillman's voice complements his upbeat rock and roll. Ultimately, this stirring collection makes Father John Misty's debut one of the best solo efforts this year, a true freak-folk standout.
FATHER JOHN MISTY + HAR MAR SUPERSTAR | Brighton Music Hall, 158 Brighton Ave, Allston | May 16 @ 8 pm | 18+ | $13 | 617.779.0140