Aural Pleasure: Father John Misty's 'I Love You, Honeybear'

click to enlarge Cover for Father John Misty's I Love You, Honeybear - COURTESY
Cover for Father John Misty's I Love You, Honeybear
Father John Misty | I Love You, Honeybear | Sub Pop | 4.5 stars

Far from the somber folk of Josh Tillman’s seven efforts as J. Tillman, Father John Misty is Tillman as honky-tonk shaman, psychedelic philosopher and self-destructive ladies’ man. On the gorgeous I Love You, Honeybear, Tillman uses this persona to deflect the intimate glow of what is largely an album of honest, off-kilter and cliché-demolishing love songs for his wife Emma Tillman. The belief that real love can persist through human faults, and is actually strengthened by reckoning with them, is a source of the album’s genius and of Tillman’s explicit amazement. To be sure, Tillman recognizes all of the impediments to a lasting bond, but — true to form for a stubborn lover — wonders on the steadfastly subjective “Holy Shit” — “What’s that got to do with you and me?”