'To S. / To R.' By Father John Misty
By Sebastian Lloyd
Josh Tillman has released his first original music since 2018's God's Favourite Customer. 'To S. / To R.' are emotional, poetic and delicately written songs. I think he's at his best as an artist when he allows his vulnerability to show, like on one of my favourite songs by him 'I went to the store one day'. The production on these two new songs is notably more sparse than his last album. It's replaced by selected ambient sounds that gives more space for the vocals, which as a Father John Misty fan, is exactly what I want.
'To S.' combines absurd images 'Flyin' on past in your voodoo mask, high on your own supply' with pithy reflection 'What about life on the ground makes you feel so strange,
Without the blues you're tethered to I'm sure you'd float away.' Josh Tillman has a knack for both humour and emotional potency in his lyrics but combining the two as he often does makes it extremely hard to not be both hit and miss. ('The Night Josh Tillman came to our Apt.', hit, 'Date Night', miss) I think it works in 'To S.' Gentle strings, piano and Tillman's voice singing 'I had a dream and you were in it is all you had to say' around the 3:15 mark in this song is the highlight of this single.
'To R.' has an opening verse over piano and drums that works nicely. It reminds me a little of 'Things It Would be Helpful to Know Before the Revolution' from his album Pure Comedy because of it's almost spoken parts combined with singing. This should continue more in the song as the chorus falls quite far short of making this song listenable more than couple of times. That being said it has a simple yet beautiful piano hook that loops with some strings in the interlude which I liked.
I think these two snippets into Josh Tillman's current sound bode very well for any 5th album under his Father John alias. I hope to be reviewing it here soon.