Review: Pure Comedy by Father John Misty

Pure Comedy by Father John MistyWe can’t fault Josh Tiillman for ambition. His first two releases under the Father John Misty monicker have been sprawling examinations of particular themes, with his breakout, I Love You, Honeybear, looking at the phenomenon of falling in love through his caustic humor. That’s not lost on Pure Comedy, which has its aims set quite high: the downfall of humanity, or at least a particular version of it, perhaps one living through this age and annoyed at how the rest are overtaking him. The humor is still sharp, the self-awareness is still there, but the album’s length – seventy minutes or so – is a considerable hurdle. (Having two tracks hover at the ten minute mark is another.) It shouldn’t be a problem, but the decision to spend most of the album in pensive piano-ballad mode proves to be challenging for this reviewer. Perhaps the point is how everything now deserves some sort of funeral dirge, but it does get in the way of what Josh wanted to say. There are moments when he does, but it really is a challenge to get there. Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” adage might be applicable. [NB]3/5

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