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Father John Misty - ChloŽ and the Next 20th Century (Album Review)

Friday, 22 April 2022 Written by Rebecca Llewellyn

On ‘Chloë and the Next 20th Century’, Josh Tillman, better known by his stage name Father John Misty, breathes a new life into everything we thought we knew about nostalgia. Incorporating elements of swing and jazz into songs that brood with tender emotion, he delivers each twist with an orchestral flourish.

A vintage Hollywood rendezvous, its sound harks back to golden years gone by. The opening track, Chloë, is clothed in a musical style that could easily nestle into a dimly lit jazz bar or a stage production, with a crescendo of melancholy meeting molten saxophones and precise keys.

Reminiscent of a slow dance, Tillman’s softened vocals mesmerise on the lovelorn lead single Funny Girl. Yet it soon becomes apparent that not one ounce of poetically-provocative Father John Misty charm is lost and ‘Chloë and the Next 20th Century’ frequently harnesses Tillman’s penchant for enigmatic lyricism. 

Whether this reflects reality, as we are led to believe through folk number Goodbye Mr. Blue, or instead wistful fantasy is a question that still hangs in the balance. At times compellingly relatable and at others cartoonishly removed from normal life, Tillman’s caricature remains perched at the very edge of human limitations.

Yet aside from those dark satirical elements within ‘Chloë and the Next 20th Century’, blooming at the forefront is a blushing sentimentality. Tillman has perfected the art of marrying the loving to the ludicrous. Pairing off-kilter one-liners with swooning vocals, he has created an extraordinary listening experience.

Father John Misty Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu March 09 2023 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Mon March 13 2023 - GATESHEAD Sage Gateshead, Sage One
Wed March 15 2023 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Thu March 16 2023 - GLASGOW Barrowland
Fri March 17 2023 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo

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