‘Fear Fun’ brings to life the musical embodiment of Hunter S Thompson’s ‘Fear & Loathing’.
Sub Pop, 2012
8.5 / 10.0
I’ve had a drink, I’ll admit. In fact, I’m drunk. But when I sober up in the morning I’ll still know this album is brilliant. Fear Fun might be the reason I’m drunk. Josh Tillman has resigned from his duties with Fleet Foxes – A bold move considering their worldwide cult status – and created a country-leaning, wistful album under the charmingly daft alias of Father John Misty. Fleet Foxes fans will be pleased to hear the record isn’t a far leap from Fleet Foxes, yet that’s not to say Tillman hasn’t created an album with personality. Even to say the record isn’t far from Fleet Foxes might be offensive. Yet, I said it. It can’t be helped.
As with Noel Gallagher’s post Oasis solo record, every review deemed it another Oasis record. Frustratingly, what critics overlooked was that it was a gloriously creative record, and more importantly, the majority of the songs far exceeded the creativity of his former band. The same applies to Father John Misty. Tillman provides a droll riposte with standout tracks “This Is Sally Hatchet” and “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”, which both could have easily appeared on Revolver, just more added grit, sex, swagger and despair than you’ll find elsewhere on this album. “Well, You Can Do It Without Me” and “Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2″ are cut from the same folk cloth but soaked in rock and roll.
Many expected folk to die a quick death after what was deemed a mainstream ‘peak’ with the success of Mumford & Sons’ debut album. However, folk, as with blues, has cemented its foot in the current music scene and is undoubtedly needed. Tillman has made a grounded and mature record, despite its drug addled despair, and you’ll find yourself listening to it repeatedly. Just when you’re thrown into an enjoyable desolation in “Now I’m Learning to Love the War”, you’re jolted into the somewhat comical country rift of “Tee Pees 1-12″.
Tillman has brought to life the musical embodiment of Hunter S Thompson’s Fear & Loathing. Full of wit, darkness and a fascination with the American dream (especially LA’s interpretation), there is as much despair as there is hope. Considering that Fear Fun was born from a drug fuelled road trip to LA, he’s certainly thrown up everything humanity offers on this intelligently crafted record while proving that an album doesn’t have to be ‘punk’ to sell anarchy.