Last year, Father John Misty released Pure Comedy, an album that turned the lens on society as a whole in all its splendor and horror...but mostly horror. Thankfully, it only took a year for a follow-up. His latest record God’s Favorite Customer deals with a subject that’s absolutely microscopic in comparison - himself. It’s Tillman at his most cynical and self-loathing - songs about delusion, living in a hotel room for weeks at a time, and his failures at being a loving and loyal partner. He’s left it all out on the table for listeners to soak in along with beautiful melodies and maximal production values in the compact 40-minute album, where 9 of the 10 songs from the album received their time in the spotlight at The Anthem.
Tillman brought out an A-team’s worth of musicians for his tour stop at The Anthem, with three guitarists (counting Tillman as the third guitarist), two keyboardists, and a seven-piece string and horn section. If you were a fan of the lush and intricate sounds of Pure Comedy and God’s Favorite Customer, you were in for a treat. Even older tracks like “I’m Writing a Novel” and “Only Son of the Ladiesman” received the 13-piece band treatment, making them feel completely rejuvenated.
One thing that Tillman has drastically toned down this time around is his sardonic wit that he’s been known for so long. His banter in-between songs was virtually nonexistent, save for praising his band and openers Bully. For someone that has racked up rave reviews for his on-stage antics like taking people’s phones and recording selfies, it’s a marked change, one that is sure to please critics of his infamous Philly rant. But whatever your opinion is on him as a person, his passion for the music has never been stronger. His voice was powerful and arresting, especially on the somber piano-only treatment of “Bored in the USA.”
God’s Favorite Customer is out now on Sub Pop Records.
Opening for Father John Misty was Bully, whose garage rock energy and raw vocals were a musical change-up to Tillman’s usual stylings, but it was just as exciting to watch. Their latest album Losing is out now on Sub Pop Records.