Chloë and the Next 20th Century

Chloë and the Next 20th Century

Josh Tillman, aka Father John Misty, has released five albums in the last decade—and each one is an expansion of and challenge to his indie-folk instrumental palette. From the stark rock/folk contrasts of Fear Fun’s ballads and anthems to the mariachi strains of I Love You, Honeybear’s love notes to the wry commentary and grand orchestrations of Pure Comedy and God’s Favorite Customer, Tillman has a penchant for pairing his articulate inner monologue with arrangements that have only grown more eclectic and elaborate. Chloë and the Next 20th Century builds on all of the above—the micro-symphonies, the inventive percussion, the swift shift from dusty country-western nostalgia to timeless dirges plunked out on a dive-bar piano. A swooning sax solo in a somber jazz number (“Buddy’s Rendezvous”) is immediately followed by the trill of a psychedelic harpsichord (“Q4”); “Goodbye Mr. Blue” recalls the acoustic inclinations of his early work, and warm strings wash over the record, from its first single, the romantic “Funny Girl,” through “The Next 20th Century,” the album’s sardonic closer, which resurfaces the ever-simmering existential dread of Pure Comedy. “If this century’s here to stay,” he sings on the track, “I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the love songs/And the great distance that they came.”

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