5* album review: Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
A former member of Fleet Foxes, Baltimore native Josh Tillman has carved out an intriguing career as a solo artist over the past few years. And now, he’s gone and made 2015’s most essential album so far.
I Love You, Honeybear is a sonically adventurous ramble through the windmills of a mind less ordinary with one fantastic song after another demonstrating how far he’s come since stepping out from behind the Fleet Foxes drum kit.
Tillman’s clever, lyrically astute compositions songs cast a cold light on romantic entanglements and the trials and tribulations of being a free-spirit in a fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world.
The title track offers a perfect introduction to his humorous, fatalistic world-view: “We’re naked, getting high on the mattress,” he sings, “while the global market crashes.”
Other songs display a carnal fixation, including the witty and curiously moving ‘When You’re Smiling and Astride Me’, And, elsewhere, there’s a playful and bookish intensity to ‘The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment’ – a song that sounds as though it was adapted from a Wes Anderson film.
Although he doesn’t particularly sound like Sufjan Stevens, Tillman boasts similar ambition and a propensity to take risks that almost always pay dividends.
A marvellous achievement, this album – from sumptuously orchestrated songs to sparer counterparts – sound elevate Tillman into the front rank of contemporary American songwriters.
Key track: ‘I Love You, Honeybear’; ‘True Affection’
Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear (Sub Pop)