Don't Rain On His Parade: A Listen To Funny Girl By Father John Misty

Scented love letters left a trail of clues, enticing with significance to figure new music was in the air from our beloved Father John Misty. No note in perfect script left this time, only the well-crafted square of a monochrome themed Insta account. The first on the grid appeared in November of last year and steadily assembled a picture of a theme that seems inevitable for his gaze: Hollywood Opulence. And in line with a contemporary tool showcasing a vintage vibe, lead track Funny Girl, unveiled on January 5th, fits that bill: whimsically historic in sound and story yet as a recent as a modern diary entry of unrequited devotion.

Los Angeles remains a continuous beacon of fascination for Mizz, falling into place within his songs - I Went to the Store One Day, Chateau Lobby No.4 (in C for Two Virgins), Hollywood Cemetery Forever and volumes more. His first studio album in four years, Chloë And The Next 20th Century, released on April 8th via Bella Union and Subpop, quenches the thirst of orchestral, luxurious sweeping sound, a natural following from 2020 live recording Off-Key in Hamburg. A chosen few were posted the announcement of the fresh record as a mysterious spoken word vinyl, priceless.

The hint Funny Girl is not set in the golden era is the lyrics, 'But you knocked me out when you charmed the pants off Letterman', where adoration of a star is laid bare from a character comfortable behind the scenes, intrigued and bedazzled, moved by the 5ft Cleopatra like vision of before him. Usually, there are lashings of dry wit, irony, or sarcasm to be derived from FJ's words, yet this is sincere, sweet: 'Oh I wish you’d flash that manic smile in my direction, and let me lead you to your seat like we were old friends.' Or if in our presence then disguised heavily: 'You’re young but, baby, you’re not getting younger.'

Working with comrade and producer Jonathon Wilson and mixer Dave Cerminara, there is a hushed lushness of voice and considerate lounge arrangements from Drew Erickson. In the instrumental dream section, a broom in the hand of our observer transforms into Her as they dance upon the clouds to plucked strings, brass and piano keys. However, in the bronzed tinted visualizer from Nicholas Ashe Bateman from Maere Studios, there is no girl in sight, only a jellyfish of elegance gliding under the bright lights of sets. The sets are our world and individual stage.

Maybe Funny Girl is Chloë, or Cherry or Coco or whomever you imagine, dare to dream, pick up the scribe. No one is raining on Tilman's parade or indeed awaited return.

Chloë And The Next 20th Century’ will be available physically on vinyl, CD and cassette, as well as limited deluxe edition housed inside a hardcover book, sporting exclusive artwork, a poster and two bonus seven-inch records.

Article by Beverley Knight