Music

Father John Misty - "Pure Comedy" (The Film) (Singles Going Steady)

Photo: Guy Lowndes

The clips of the songs are all the proof you need that Pure Comedy is going to be a groundbreaker and one of 2017's best albums.

Steve Horowitz: Where there is smoke, there is comedy. I don't have a damn idea of what is going on here, but the musical elements whose parts are broken down and recombined suggest that as time passes everything changes. The melody initially resembles (purposely?) Bob Dylan's "Sign on the Window" whose wry take on the human condition fits here before the music breaks down into something more spiritual. Gospel with a sense of humor, Gandhi and Freud and mother, oh my. The bullshit of sports and the worship of the strong is just another pathology brought about by our shared humanity and uncertainty of what it all means... No one is to blame / everyone is to blame. Not even nature can save us. The end of civilization may be nearer than we think. Father John Misty understands to live is to feel pain. Ha Ha Ha. We must all be mad. There lies freedom. The sophistication of answers that don't make sense, indeed. And there is always music. Sweet music, to offer solace when all else fails. [9/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: A slice-of-life sampler platter gives us insight into Father John Misty’s recording process -- and his creative mind. There’s a lot to unpack from this short film; interstitial shots of burning cities and eerie cartoons tie together moments spent watching Joshua Tillman’s laserlike focus on composing and the total rapture he feels when everything begins to come together in the studio. The bits of music that make the cinematic cut are delectable morsels, transparent and emotionally exposed, and no matter the medium, Tillman’s intensity is palpable. Is a 25-minute film made to advertise an upcoming album overdoing it? Sure. But Father John Misty commits to it, and while the resulting film is inescapably pretentious, it’s also fascinating to watch. [8/10]

Chris Ingalls: Something of an oddball promotional film for Father John Misty's upcoming album, "Pure Comedy (The Film)" is an exciting 25-minute trip (in every sense of the word) inside the world of the enigmatic singer/songwriter. Shot in gorgeous black and white, the video features tons of studio noodlings, driving around a Los Angeles dotted with fires, cigarette smoking, and plenty of weird, surrealistic audio and video touches. The clips of the songs -- in various stages of production -- are all the proof you need that Pure Comedy is going to be a groundbreaker. Bringing in composer Gavin Bryars to help out with compositions and orchestrations is the right move, as choirs and strings give the songs, even more, gravitas, sounding almost Randy Newmanesque. A tantalizing peak and what could be 2017's album of the year. [9/10]

Scott Zuppardo: Josh Tillman aka Father John Misty's twisted genius is never dull. His lyrical poetry and knack for songwriting are awe-inspiring enough, but you can clearly add visual art to his syllabus after this nearly half hour mini-doc/music video. Don't let the title fool you; there will be very little laughing. [9/10]

Father John Misty's new album, Pure Comedy, will be released 7 April 2017 via Bella Union and Sub Pop.

SCORE: 8.75

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