After what seemed like the end of the story of Father John Misty with God’s Favourite Customer (2018), Josh Tilman returns after four years of radio silence and very vague interviews and press releases… some may be happy, some may not, but such is the way of Father John Misty. After the folk-rock vignettes of God’s Favourite Customer, Misty seems to have circled back to the grandiose old-fashioned style of Pure Comedy (2017), this time with a dash more grace, and a lot more elegance.
The old-timey opening Chloë immediately tells us that we are about to be taken on a journey through the story of Chloë and the Next 20th Century, an opening track that really ‘sets the stage’ almost literally. Throughout the next 11 tracks, Tilman gives us his clever and poignant depictions of the human condition, and points out just how absurd we all really are. The album shifts between candid sepia drenched moments accompanied by soaring string arrangements (written with the help Drew Erickson) and cinematic country-esque snapshots that help paint a picture of a time gone by, somewhat familiar yet incredibly nostalgic.
Chloë and the Next 20th Century triumphs at creating a unique atmosphere and is an album best enjoyed when one has a moment to dedicate themselves entirely to Tilman’s storytelling. An album that is timeless yet stirs a sense of curiosity as to where the world of Father John Misty could take us next.