Father John Misty is one of those names that pops up a lot on the music and pop culture websites I frequent. Which generally means one of two things. Either he’s really awesome and I’m gonna love him. Or, he’s really hiptsery and I’m gonna hate his preciousness. Well, that was a risk I decided to take, by listening to I Love You, Honeybear.
Gentle guitars, tinkling piano, throw in some strings for good measure, soothing vocals, and the opening, title track is the sound of slowly moving clouds and floating in water that’s just the right temperature. While a little more energy, most of the same ingredients, plus some horn action, bring a little more life to Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins). But even with that slight extra oomph, it remains as intimate and sweet as its predecessor.
The ramping up continues with the electronic beats of True Affection. But with Misty’s oooh-and-aaah backing vocals, it’s impossible for even these digital flourishes to take away any of the organic, living and breathing feeling of his songs and I Love You, Honeybear.
There’s an aspect to the Father John Misty sound that brings a perfect combination of melancholy and wide eyed hope to every song here. Lyrically, The Night John Ashman Came to Our Apt. sounds like it could be about heartbreak. But at the same time, it could be a heartbreak that the song’s protagonist needed. While When You’re Smiling and Astride Me is slower, sadder in tone and more contemplative, while never sounding like a bummer.
Almost approaching rock and roll, The Ideal Husband is a late album kick in the guts that adds a new dimension to I Love You, Honeybear that I didn’t even know I was hanging out for. Then it’s the exact opposite with Bored in the USA. A piano based lament that spells out its title in a mournful anti-ballad to modern day life in America.
As Father John Misty closes things out with Holy Shit and I Went to the Store One Day, it’s a return the quiet restraint of the opening suite of songs. And it’s here that I realise that while I Love You, Honeybear stays within a pretty narrow set of parameters, Misty’s knack for finding emotion and heart within this parameters makes this an album that shows how effective consistency can be when done right.