Review: “Mr. Tillman” – Father John Misty

Father John Misty returns with a parochial and lustrous single “ Mr Tillman” as he gears up for his new 2018 album.

Earlier this year, Josh Tillman won a Grammy for his third Father John Misty album, Pure Comedy, he anointed his award in true FJM style by saying, “Fuck society.” Given that the album’s most unforgettable, vivid lyric involved “bedding Taylor Swift every night inside the Oculus Rift,” this new single signals a return to projects of old and slightly less apocalyptic.

A week or so ago, videos surfaced of FJM introducing a new song while on tour in Tokyo, a track that had sprinkled on a few set-lists and had occasionally been referred to as “Mr Tillman, Please Exit The Lobby.” Now, the official studio version of the song has been released. It’s arrived out of relatively nowhere without any accompanying album details, but given Tillman’s recent talk of new material it seems doubtful it will be another standalone track similar to “Real Love Baby.”

“Mr Tillman” is a significant shift from the disgusted gaze at mainstream culture in comparison to Pure Comedy. Similar to 2015’s I Love You, Honeybear highlight The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment,” FJM narrates the verses from the perceptive of a hotel receptionist inquiring about Mr Tillman’s eccentric and erratic behaviour trying to keep the singer in check. out and talking of himself as a character. “Is there someone we can call/ Perhaps you shouldn’t drink alone,” he sings.

But despite the narrator’s alarm, ” Mr Tillman” is effortlessly smooth, brimming with soothing harmonies and cheerful glockenspiel. His vocal melody moves in an incapacitated manner that constantly threatens to burst into a vocal performance synonymous with FJM. The vocals are contrasted perfectly against a persistent piano line that is constantly working to help create the tracks dreamy atmosphere. The brief video that accompanies the sonic delight is quintessential FJM. The grandiose deco art cover makes way around the 2-minute mark to reveal Tillman living inside a stock hotel photography world.

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Having been included in RideMusic’s album’s of 2017, there is a building anticipation for 2018’s release. Recently, Tillman has been announced for a run of high-profile festival appearances this summer including an appearance in London and Halifax. 

Listen to the track here:

Words: Matthew Thomas

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