Despite the light-hearted title, Father John Misty’s third album is not one for those seeking light entertainment.
The record dances through issues of religion, technology, contemporary attitudes and attempts to comment on all these with a witty sharp tongue, but Father John Misty’s attempts at biting satire falls short.
Musically the record is incredible, the production is sublime and there is always something which your ear can latch onto and enjoy, at least until the lyrics enter the picture.
“Bedding Taylor Swift every night inside the oculus rift/After mister and misses finish dinner and the dishes” starts Father John Misty in Total Entertainment Forever.
It’s a song which is meant to paint a frightening picture of the future that, although musically appeasing, comes across like a rant done by a bearded man on the street with a cardboard sign saying ‘the end is nigh.’
Misty’s songs are constantly let down by his lyrics which fail to have even half the power or poetry of several of his previous songs such as ‘True Affection’.
The highlights of the record are the title track ‘Pure Comedy’ and ‘Ballad of the Dying Man’, which both, not coincidentally, include the album’s best lyrical content.
‘Ballad of the Dying Man’ is the best of several lengthy piano ballads throughout the record and is the only song on the record that could have featured in Misty’s previous one, I Love You, Honeybear.
There are far too many piano ballads on the record and the two 10-plus minute songs are long, rambling pieces that are hard to pay attention to and are not worth your time.
It is a shame that his rants distract from the music, which is a mix of pop-rock gems, folky piano, and art pop which all blends to create a sonically appeasing album.
Father John Misty might be one of the most interesting musicians currently strumming a guitar and calling it art but he has used better poetry for his twitter rants than he has for his lyrics on this record.
Pure Comedy is out 7 April 2017