It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with soft rock indie rock. It’s just that there’s so much of it and so much of it gets such grand praise when it’s all really, kinda boring. That’s all. That’s why soft rock has been my mortal enemy for my listening lifetime.
Consequently, one may expect me to pan the new solo music from Fleet Foxes’ one time drummer, J Tillman, and his new outfit Father John Misty. And as much as I’d love to slag a Fleet Fox, I can’t do it as his first single, “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” rises above the predictable, rustic beauty of his former band. Oh, there’s some of those classic signifiers of pastoral, Northwest folk — Lots of reverb, especially on Tillman’s voice and the sweet, Beach Boy pop harmonies, but then there’s that guitar tone. It’s a wonderful guitar tone, loose, deeply textured, damaged and distorted, and yet, strangely clear. It’s not only the star of the song, but also displays a sense of willingness and daring on the part of Tillman, hinting that Father John Misty may be more than another nice band with beards.
Fear Fun, the debut album by Father John Misty, will be released May 1st on Sub Pop Records. You can read more about it here, where you can download “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings, too. The download will cost you an email address.