Father John Misty – Pure Comedy (Bella Union)

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy (Bella Union)


Josh Tillman aka Father John Misty’s last album, I Love You Honeybear, was like a lavishly-decorated birthday cake, all icing, piping and fruit – you were initially impressed but only when you cut into it did you realise there was just plain spongecake inside. It was lush, slickly produced, smoothly crooned, and utterly, utterly empty at its core. But at least it had a few decent tunes. Pure Comedy takes that template, ditches the tunes, and drags it out to over 70 depressing minutes. Depressing not because these songs are sad, or speak volumes about the tragedy of the human condition, but because they’re hollow, the sound of a pub bore in love with the sound of his own voice rehashing opinions and theories that have been expressed more eloquently a million times by others.

Take the album opener and title track, in which Tillman takes aim at – ooh, edgy – the religious right, with a pompous tone suggesting he’s the first singer ever to have the idea, voicing his disdain in some of the most hamfisted lyrics you’ll hear all year – “They worship themselves yet they’re totally obsessed/With risen zombies, celestial virgins, magic tricks, these unbelievable outfits/And they get terribly upset when you question their sacred texts”. Ditto first single ‘Two Wildly Different Perspectives’, a look at how the US political system screws everyone – “One side says ‘Kill em all’/The other says ‘Line those killers up against the wall’/But either way some blood is shed”. Josh, my 15-year old self called and he wants his poetry back.

Pure Comedy is like some hellish experiment in which bland but inoffensive 1980s yacht rock legend Christopher Cross (‘Arthur’s Theme’) is hypnotised into thinking he’s some kind of visionary savant and musical genius, an experiment that culminates with the mindnumbingly tedious ‘Leaving LA’, a 14-minute (yes, you read that correctly, 14-minute) rant about how shallow LA is, some disingenuous self-mockery about how Tillman takes himself too seriously, when the truth is that he tries to come across like he doesn’t take himself seriously at all, but in fact he does, but there’s no real substance to back it up; and some arrogant bollocks about how this song is taking him to a new level and leaving his old fanbase behind (“I’m beginning to begin to see the end/Of how it all goes down between me and them/Some 10-verse chorus-less diatribe/Plays as they all jump ship/‘I used to like this guy but this new shit really kinda makes me wanna die’”), and if, as I have just realised, this paragraph reads like a mess it’s because the song is a mess, the sound of a man so far up his own arse he’s lost the ability to communicate with anything beyond his own ringpiece. He sounds as bored and jaded with the whole sorry mess as I am, yet still desperate to show how clever he thinks he is. Josh, if you’re so obviously bored with music, try writing a book. I won’t read it, but try writing a book.

Even worse is state-of-popular-culture rant ‘The Memo’, in which Tillman compares himself to modern art and pop bands and, naturally, finds them wanting, because of course what the world needs more of right now is third-rate Elton Johns (a little unfair to Elton, given that I can hum several of his songs); and ‘Ballad of the Dying Man’, a critique of critics, which again hints at self-mockery but which is really aimed at those who think Tillman isn’t a genius. When of course he IS a genius, because he can rhyme ‘Taylor Swift’ with ‘Oculus Rift’. No, he’s Gerard Kenny with a Monocle subscription.

All of this is set to immaculate LA soft-rock, the kind of thing that dominated radio before punk broke, the kind of thing we once hoped and believed we’d confined to Smooth FM. There’s no variety, no upbeat numbers, no peaks or troughs, not even any virtuoso musicianship to briefly capture the attention. Just 72 minutes of blandness, with Tillman’s verbal diarrhoea smeared all over it. Like being stuck in a bar being harangued by some millennial backpacker who thinks he knows it all because he just spent a month getting stoned in Thailand, while The Best of Air Supply plays in the background. Really, who let this kind of shit back in?

88 thoughts on “Father John Misty – Pure Comedy (Bella Union)

  1. This is a serious albumreview? Although music is subjective, this “writer” came out of the gate hating or disliking the previous album setting the tone for what is basically designed to be a mental assault on a artist who sold what? A quarter million records in today’s market? The only thing I can surmise is that I would probably dislike most of his record collection which probably comprised of artists that don’t have catchy hooks or unfollowable jazz chordings and really deep lyrics. This reviewer sound as if he were some sort aristocratic music snob from some sort of caste system that frowns down upon someone trying to create a peice of music, poetry and art that cleverly gets across a personal viewpoint from a certain place in time and history. I think an artist like this makes me think a little more scout the state of the world in an accessible catchy way. I also think the two previous albums were probably the most important folk rock/singer/songwriter albums in 20 years or better. A third rate Elton John? Jesus dude Elton had him on his Beats1 show heaping praise on him in an interview. But I guess the reviewer must have gone into this review truly blindfolded but I imagine the public that seeeks out legit reviews likely will never rely on insights of this particular reviewer. I certainly will not seek out mean-spirited reviewers like this that clearly want to get at an artists Goat and hurt their feelers.

    1. You are quite right in your early assertion that all music is subjective, Johann, and I know of at least one other GIITTV writer that LOVED this album, but the truth is that, as albums editor, I can’t just give out specific albums to people who I know are going to love them. I had no idea whether Tim would like it or not, but I am not too concerned that he didn’t. I doubt Mr Tillman himself is particularly bothered either – he’s had extremely positive praise from most quarters and I can’t see Tim’s review doing a great deal of damage to his reputation!

      Me personally, I reviewed ‘I Love You Honeybear’ on here when it came out, and loved it. I also was a big fan of ‘Fear Fun’, but I have to be honest, I’m struggling with ‘Pure Comedy’ myself too. It has its moments (I wouldn’t have gone as low as a 3/10 rating though) but I don’t have too much spare time these days and it demands a bit too much of an effort on the listener’s part for my liking.

      It’s just the luck of the draw really, who reviews what. It’s one GIITTV writer’s favourite album of the year so far. Unlucky for JT that it didn’t fall into his hands, but hey, he’ll get by, I’m sure…

      1. I had to live with all his albums awhile before I could fall in love with it. I like his latter j. Till music also. I think this interview is designed to somehow ratchet down his ego or an attempt to keep him in check or feel less than. Most narcissists are insecure as is the case with Josh or even the reviewer. I don’t want the same album from an artist. I want to grow with the artist. I work with with two artists that both are pro style meaning legit label signed early in their career with Mercury and capital. Their trajectory was almost identical to Tillman. Checkout James Angell Pandemic Symphony that I produced. He’s now so underground he’s swimming in molten lava at the core of the earth. The other is The Dandy Warhols. We all have listener perceived slumps.

      2. Loz,
        Not being familiar with your site I did read your review of Honeybear and some Temples, Courtney Barnett (I know them through Dandys so it caught my eye). I like what’s going on here and will read more in the future. Consider it bookmarked! Thanks.
        Johann

    1. Ha. My point was that A) I reviewed the last FJM album so thought it best to give it to another writer to do and 2) I’ve been that busy of late that I didn’t feel like I could give it the time it may feasibly merit.

      I’m not saying it’s a bad album myself. Just that it hasn’t grabbed me yet as being a good/great one.

      1. From reading this review I’m surprised the writer even gave this album a 3. Your publication must have known the writer didn’t particularly like FJM (he even criticizes Honeybear before getting into the Pure Comedy) going into it, but to not mentioning Total Entertainment Forever, Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution & A Bigger Paper Bag all while saying the album is totally lacking of ‘decent tunes’…. hmmmm. I could have read these types of opinions from any troll on any message board, and I have… but I would expect a little more from people who are professional critics. I know, I know, just one mans opinions. I give this review a 3/10 for using the term verbal diarrhoea though. If anything, this review will get you guys some page clicks, and isn’t that what its really all about?

        1. Why would I know that he wasn’t a fan of FJM? We have a lot of writers. I don’t hide in their houses and rummage through their record collections when they’ve gone out. I can honestly say I had no idea whether Tim would like it or not. Blimey, its a good job you never read the likes of NME and Melody Maker back in the eighties (well, I’m presuming you didn’t anyway), ’cause you’d have been forever sending letters of complaint…

          1. I thought, you know, that since you all write about music that maybe you guys talk about it together and have an idea of each others tastes. Crazy thought I guess? You did say you knew another writer who really enjoys FJM and passed on having them review the album, so you must know some of your peoples listening habits. This thing has been floating around the interwebs for a long while now, giving the listener plenty of time to digest the album and form opinions well before the actual release date as well. Its all good really, I normally could give two cares about music reviews but when you guys give an album a much lower score then anyone else on the net, I felt the need to question it. Maybe some other publications will have similar feelings and I can waste my time bothering them. Like I said, nothing that was said in this review was much different to what I have seen written on various message boards, I just would expect more from a pro critic.

    1. Good points. The part that got me was ripping on him as a third rate Elton John knowing that Elton didn’t even write his own lyrics. You couldn’t even compare Elton’s key skills to Tillman. But if you look at the care that was taken into making this album and all the hats Tillman wore then i think it stands on its own merits. His albums are not 2-3 listens… they are nuanced lessons in production and voice forward songwriting.

      1. ” nuanced lessons in production and voice forward songwriting.”

        You just summed up why this album leaves me cold. I hope I never get so old that I start to value “nuanced lessons in production” over soul, wit, inspiration, instinct and energy. FJM has no fire in his belly and that comes across in every single tedious song on this album.

        1. Tim,
          I appreciate that you would even care to defend your position. I will say when someone, anyone in this world has a pair of huevos (or ovaries) to dedicate to offering a viewpoint into the state of the planet from a particular viewpoint of Trumpish apocalypse. I have to respect that position and the album is well-crafted with more care and musical ability than most. I’m not here to make you like/love any album that you don’t want to. I’m glad you were one of the only reviewers to completely despise and have obvious contempt for this album. I don’t expect any reviewer to not speak their mind in fact I’d welcome it. Still super curious what’s in your stack of lps. Pull the likes pile and give me the first ten or so…. I’m not trying to change your mind or hurt your feelers at all. I just think it was slightly mean-spirited is all.

          1. You can look at my other reviews and see what kind of stuff gets the high scores from me Johann – given a few 9s and even a 10 this year (to Jordan Ireland). All-time fave albums would include Disintegration, Technique, 16 Lovers Lane, On Fire, Bummed, Agaetis Byrjun, Let Love In and loads loads more.

        2. Ok. Sorry I didn’t mention that there are indeed poignant artistic moments that you may have overlooked as you bailed this into your trash (or rubbish) can as quickly as possible. Your loss dude!

          1. Maybe there are poignant artistic moments, but they’re not worth wading through 70+ minutes of smug hipster wanking to dig out.

    2. And your point is? Any writing about music is subjective and therefore biased. If I was a big FJM fan, which thank fuck I’m not, the review would’ve been equally “biased”.

      1. Yeah, this is a very good point. People don’t seem to mind if the reviewer is biased in favour of an artist (especially if they agree with the outcome of the review). I’m sure a large portion of reviews are done by writers who already love the artist they’re reviewing. This never gets picked up on though. You never see anyone saying, “You only gave this album 10/10 because you obviously loved the band already”. By this logic it would mean that to be totally fair on every album released that Loz would have to go and find people who were completely neutral on the artist which sounds like an impossible task to me.

        1. Indeed Jonathan. I also get the impression that a lot of readers would prefer reviews along the lines of “X is the second album by The Ys. It has 10 songs. Song 1 is called A. It is 3’47” long. It has drums and guitars. Song 2 is called B. It is 2’34”. It has drums and guitars and a man singing words.” etc. Wouldn’t be much fun would it, and what pleasure would cloth-eared narcissists like me get out of it?

  2. The writer being savagely critical because a song’s themes aren’t unique? Really? Sounds like all you need is love, Tim.

  3. This review (whether or not you agree with it) is much better than the comments under this review. People should STFU and go do their own music blog if they think only their opinion can possibly be correct.

  4. I’m not even going to use my Terry Christian persona for this

    By far the worst review of an album or artist I have ever seen on any website, A disgraceful piece of pompus writing which is ironic when accusing a genius of the same thing, and Pure Comedy in the bargain, again, ironic

    This is an album so far ahead of the competition this year its quite scary just how good it is, maximum rating in virtually every magazine thats reviewd it

    What this cloth eared fool is listening to is anyones guess, it certainly isnt Pure Comedy

    No wonder you dont get paid for opinions, because the value of the writing on this site amounts to just that

    1. So because you disagree with the review, because it doesn’t fit the 5 stars accross the board consensus, because we aren’t paid for our opinions, they are less valid?

      I have read this review about four times, it’s a good subjective critique and entertaining too.(which is part of the point of music journalism)Whether I agree with it or not doesn’t matter as much, as it happens I haven’t heard this album yet.I don’t see what’s so offensive about this piece?If anything some of the comments here and on twitter are harsher than the actual review.Questioning the quality of a review based upon whether the reviewer was paid to write it, is a surprisingly snobbish attitude from a music fan.Have you ever watched a support band in a local venue I dare say most of those aren’t paid either?Do you judge all art and writing by its commercial value?

      If you think this is harsh, you clearly never read the Melody Maker.

    1. Can you humour me and point out the pompous and disgraceful aspects of it? Because I am struggling to pinpoint them. Or again is it simply because it goes against the grain of other reviews? In that case, I think that’s what a review is a personal subjective critique of a record coupled with an opinion, or should they all just be another page of the let’s all sing off the same hymn sheet automatically. How boring would THAT BE?!

  5. I’m not the editor/owner of this site Bill, So I’m not going to point out the obvious for you

    I am however a former PROFESSIONAL writer many of which of your contributors will have read pieces by or even bought albums off the strenght of my opinion

    What some people might not realise who are reading this, is I share a facebook group with some of your writers and me and you were once in contact and spoke often but you deleted that contact by forming a misguided opinion of me. And two of your “writers” also block me on that discussion group, again for misguided opinion of me which someone who cared might even find libellous

    These are the type of writers you are employing, desperado’s who cant get a paid gig and also people quck to judge and who block out the opinion of those who dare to question their pretentions even though they are far more qualified and experienced. If you ask why they make up some crap others dont share the opinion of

    In short, this is not how to rub a website, I personally had death threats over some of my opinions in the MM and NME, you laugh it of. Criticize a writer here and they delete or block you on facebook so you cant question their views

    If you cant see all that then no wonder you are asking me to do your job for you

    BTW, you were jammy at Old Trafford last night, lol

    1. For a paid professional journalist you sure did a great job of totally ignoring my plea for an example of disgraceful pompousness in this review? As for bringing in the past into an entirely separate context, first of all most people reading won’t have a clue what you are chuntering about. Second you are clearly harbouring bitterness over being blocked by people on social media for your ignorant, sexist and homophobic views. Those are all much more disgraceful than any review on this site.

      Finally and this is my final word on the matter, we have some great writers on this site in their own right and of all abilities, indeed if you want me to impress you and blow our own trumpet(something I rarely do but will because of the criticism we have received today). Many previous and current GIITTV writers have gone on to bigger name publications, virtually every major one you can think of there is a writer who has gained experience here or writes for other places and continues to contribute here. Now I am proud of that, and proud of the passion, dedication and writing on show on this site from our vast range of contributors, whether we/they are paid to do it or not!!

      1. That’s fair. Honestly I think as silly, racist, stupid and ignorant that a recent majority of voting Americans are this somehow probably has more social relevance to someone living stateside than perhaps a person or music critic living in the U.K. That being said it is scathing (to say the least) if not condemning of an obviously relative artist is once again mean-spirited.

        Attack production or the business side of a album rollout in this music climate? I’m certainly glad that this particular artist will not go broke touring or selling albums or merch. I don’t think the artistic merits are lacking and plenty of folks will get behind this. I predict more so than his previous efforts. I don’t give two shits if he is living in the Hollywood Hills in a hopefully paid for overpriced bungalow paying outrageously high taxes. Personally I think he has brought back the concept albums in his last three efforts speaking from his collective experience of conversations, reading and living. I know this guy because I’ve lived in this country and maybe even travelled a somewhat similar trajectory having been in the music biz and living on the West Coast.

        I’m sure that FJM (and most of us) probably agree that our suffering is self-inflicted all while knowing that if not for greed every man, woman and child on this planet could have food, shelter, medical care and a basic smartphone and wifi while learning some meaningful profession through lectures (such as music journalism) from Oxford, Harvard, Yale or Princeton or even their own local colleges. It actually completely pisses most caring humans beings off. But whatevs. We are all living out experience in a meaningful way or not really thinking about anything but our immediate sphere of existence and surviving.

  6. Those people who dont know what I’m “chuntering on about”, however, will know my name

    Therefore they will know I’m none of the above things you so lovingly describe me as

    What they wont know is what I know.

    That any member of the public who dares to criticize a review on this site is set upon like a pack of wolves by the very same people who believe what they think they know to be true.

    My gay daughter might tell them otherwise, yet you still bring that crap up because you lack the intelligence to understand the points I was making even now

    The point is any website who’s writers gang up on anyone with a differing opinion to their own is no website at all.

    And YES of course I ignored you, I illustrated that in my very first line that I refuse to do your job for you

    Obviously you hold the keys here, its your website, but any stranger knows NO publication should ever ague with their own readers. Very Amatuerish

    Disappointed in you Bill, I thought you had brains when first got to know you, Guess I’m not right all of the time

    1. Thanks for commenting on my review. “NO publication should ever ague with their own readers.” I remember the likes of Swells and others often fighting back on the NME letters page. In fact one of my proudest moments as a music press letter-writer was being told to “fuck off” by the great man back in the early 90s.

      You disagree with my review, no problem. But you seem to be saying that, as all the other reviewers like it, this somehow invalidates my review. So you’re saying that, given the inexplicable blanket praise this album has received, I should’ve ignored the fact that it’s a steaming turd of an album and given it the thumbs up, just to avoid messing up the grade curve? If you remember rightly, a certain album called “Be Here Now” got unanimous praise 20 years ago, shortly before everyone realised it was actually an over-long self-indulgent mess. That probably won’t happen with FJM – white male Americana singer-songwriters tend to get a free pass from the media, look at Dylan – but being in the minority doesn’t make you “wrong”, or a “cloth-eared fool”.

      But thanks for commenting and I’d like to know your real name as if you did write for MM & NME in the past I’ve almost certainly read your work.

      1. Honestly I enjoyed how this review of FJM turned into merits and exploits of gonzo record review journalism pulling out the classics of NME and MM arguing with reviewers. Let’s be happy we are in world now that the final reply between a reader and journalist is in print with no ability to debate these talking points. I’ll read more of your reviews with albums I’m more familiar with like Boston: Third Stage. Haha.

  7. Scruff or whatever your new alias is, you are a troll who seems to take pleasure in ripping apart perfectly legitimate pieces of journalism for some perverse personal pleasure. If I did buy you wrote for the Melody Maker or NME then i’d have to say your abilities at any kind of substantial objectivity would draw me to conclude I would have ignored all of your critiques back in the day

  8. This is a funny review. It reads like a high school critique of a prescribed text written by a student who didn’t spend the time to read or put in the mental effort to understand it beyond their initial, undeveloped, thoughts. Perhaps that is what this website stands for.

    At the root of many of the adjectives thrown around in this review appears to be a steadfast hard-heartedness or unwillingess to entertain and engage with the ideas presented in Pure Comedy (the album). Let me take a few examples:

    Tim uses the word “depressing” to introduce the album. He then defines the word in context for the purposes of his review as “hollow, the sound of a pub bore in love with the sound of his own voice rehashing opinions and theories that have been expressed more eloquently a million times by others.” At no point does he reference one of the central themes in the album, which is that taking the perspective of comedy in respect of the human condition can be profoundly liberating.

    That theme is expressed in the album in several tracks, most notably on the closer “In Twenty Years or So” (“What’s there to lose / For a ghost in a cheap rental suit / Clinging to a rock that is hurtling through space?”) but also on “Ballad of the Dying Man” (“Eventually the dying man takes his final breath / But first checks his news feed to see what he’s ’bout to miss / And it occurs to him a little late in the game / We leave as clueless as we came / From rented heavens to the shadows in the cave / We’ll all be wrong someday”).

    In both of these examples, Tillman draws our attention to the pure absurdity of the things humans do and think about, not out of “disdain” or with a “pompous tone”, but to express a message that appears to be mostly forgotten today – which is that the idea of us being alive is laughable, and by laughing at ourselves we can perhaps take ourselves less seriously and, hopefully, be happier. In perspective, our troubles can be seen as trifling.

    Of course, these ideas are not new. As Tim points out, Tillman could be said to be rehashing ideas that have already been expressed. But as a member of a modern society that is saturated in self-obsession and hopelessly addicted to information, I do not consider the fact that these ideas have been expressed before as a basis for concluding that these ideas are boring, or that a person who expresses them is arrogant, pompous, hamfisted or engaging in “verbal diarrhoea” by doing so.

    In fact, I consider these ideas are mostly forgotten today. Hardly anyone reads Vonnegut, Roth, Camus or Foster Wallace today, and dare I say, a majority of the younger people who listen to Pure Comedy have never heard of them either. In that sense, Pure Comedy is a welcome reminder of a forgotten perspective to a generation of self-obsessed screen-starers.

    You can say what you want about the perspective, but I don’t consider anyone who expresses such views in the harsh (and I would argue unreasonable) light you have cast Tillman in your piece (e.g. “pub bore”, “a pompous tone suggesting he’s the first singer ever to have the idea”). By your approach, as certainly-not-the-first person to express such vitriol in a pompous, bitter review posted in a no-name independent music blog, you, Tim, exhibit the very repulsive characteristics of which you accuse Tillman. The only difference is that you didn’t spend the time nor put in the mental effort to produce something creative out of those feelings or ideas.

    The second substantive point you make in your review is that “There’s no variety, no upbeat numbers, no peaks or troughs, not even any virtuoso musicianship to briefly capture the attention”. I cannot understand how someone who chooses to write a review on this album could come this conclusion, unless that person 1) has written that review maliciously; or 2) is tone deaf. Again, let me take a few examples:

    No variety: If you listen to the track “Total Entertainment Forever” followed by the track “Birdie” you can hear that the former has an up-tempo whereas the latter is set to a down-tempo. Similarly, the musical instruments used in each of the tracks is distinct (notably, a ‘memory moog’ synthesiser, mellotron and opitgan are used in Birdie). The Memo features an automated computer persona who delivers a message. The instrumental piece that concludes “So I’m Growing Old on Magic Mountain” features the use of a vibraphone.

    No upbeat numbers: See above in respect of “Total Entertainment Forever”. This song is as upbeat as any song which doesn’t repeat it’s chorus several times can get. Similarly, I find “Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution” and “A Bigger Paper Bag” to be set to tremendously upbeat tempos.

    No peaks or troughs: The first four songs create a peak which develops into a trough at “Birdie” and then your favourite track, “Leaving LA”. There is no doubt that after the first four songs, the energy drops (for good reasons in my view). Apart from these ‘album-level’ peaks and troughs, several tracks themselves feature peaks and troughs. The most obvious example is the cut-off of the choir at the conclusion of the track “Ballad of the Dying Man” which leaves Tillman’s spare falsetto to take the track to its conclusion.

    1. ‘ If you listen to the track “Total Entertainment Forever” followed by the track “Birdie” you can hear that the former has an up-tempo whereas the latter is set to a down-tempo. Similarly, the musical instruments used in each of the tracks is distinct (notably, a ‘memory moog’ synthesiser, mellotron and opitgan are used in Birdie). The Memo features an automated computer persona who delivers a message. The instrumental piece that concludes “So I’m Growing Old on Magic Mountain” features the use of a vibraphone.’

      Man I bet you’re fun at parties. There’s more to loving music than this.

      1. G-Pig doesn’t seemed to have said anything about “loving music” in the section you’ve quoted, which if you read in context addresses the point you’ve made about a “lack of variety” on the record rather than saying anything about how G-Pig enjoys his/her music. Yours comes across as an uncharitable, petty and utterly inadequate reply lacking in particulars. You haven’t engaged with G-Pig’s thoughtful response to/rebuttal of your review.

        Very disappointing to see an author of a review taking shots at guests on the site who have genuinely commented on their work.

        1. Absolutely spot on

          No reviewer would ever with a reader of a website. Not a paid one anyway

          It displays total arrogance that his view is the only view. Any visitor to this site would then be put of commenting. Its sad to see yet still it continues with each and every poster that comments

          Especially when you can see G-Pig is 10 times the writer that the reviewer is

          If I’d argued with every reader that had argued with points i have made over the years I would be in prison for mass homicide

    2. Now THATS what I call a review

      No offence was meant Tim, but as someone as who has had this album in my possession since late February I can tell you barely listened to it before commiting thoughts to print. Where as G-Pig cleary has and obviously has prior knowledge of FJM that you do not have.

      You touch on the fact that “leaving LA” is some sort of autobiographical piece but with little grasp of the lyrical content, anyone familiar with FJM will know how great a lyric that is, and Ive never known a 14 minute song pass in what seems like 4.

      As for bad grammar, give her a break, she raised me well. Theres no spellchecker on this site and I type 60 words a minute at the same time of thinking what i’m going to say, so lets not resort to the cliche of criticizing grammar, I doubt Bill would have asked me to write for this site if I couldnt string a sentence together

      I really hope you werent offended by my original point Tim that wasnt my intention, but I stand by my point its a piss poor review and G-Pig here makes ever salient point you missed, maybe he should be hired by this site, or even better, by a monthly magazine

      1. I couldn’t disagree with you more.

        (1) G-Pig’s ‘review’ is not a review – its simply an attempt to justify why they like it. I found it boring to read and very difficult to get through, unlike the GITTV review.

        (2) “I can tell you barely listened to it before commiting thoughts to print.” What is the obsession with listening to stuff before reviewing it? I genuinely don’t get it. But he did listen, just as briefly as it deserved, just long enough to be certain of how appalling it is.

        One just needs to see Tillman’s face and see his stage name to know with 100% certainty that Stock Aitken and Waterman are closer to being interesting new music than this person is. The cover of the record makes it more clear.

        Very curious to know who you are as I’m sure I would have read loads of your writing.

        1. I would love to see your face so I can tell you how horrible you and everything you’ve ever created are. Actually, I would love to tell you that without ever seeing your face or spending the time to absorb anything you have created.

          That’s the logic you’ve followed in all your comments, and it’s stupendously myopic. I’d suggest that you should give Pure Comedy at least 10 listens before heading out to mix with society.

          1. Seth – what is your problem? Everything I have ever seen or read about FJM makes me certain that I have no interest in the man or his music. Because you like him you seem to think that it should it be the law that everyone has to listen to the album 10 times and then admit to you in person that they were wrong all along. Bonkers. I have not got time to listen to all music, and I am going to start by avoiding FJM. You are welcome to listen to him – that is your choice. Just as its my choice to avoid him at all costs because I am certain that for myself and anyone with half decent taste in music it’ll be an unpleasant experience.

            Any link to Fleet Foxes is enough to put me off completely.

            “Father” has religious connotations and I hate religion.

            I cannot think of a non-doom musician I like who has a bushy beard – why should FJM be the first?

            Pitchfork’s review says “gruelling”; “humility is scarce”; “screams to be taken as art”; “It is intense, fatalistic, exhausting, and grandiose”; “Josh Tillman still excels at tormenting those unlucky souls who enjoy his music”; “He perfected theatrical cynicism”; “synth-dappled country, blue-eyed soul, and pop fashioned after George Harrison”; “The indulgence is pure Tillman”; Tillman’s pomposity”; “Father John Misty’s music is certainly exasperating”; “The moment somebody says, “I know I’m being annoying” is often when you realize it’s true.” Every single word screaming at me never to listen to a second of his music.

        2. Wild Eye: I am replying to your comment below (the site doesn’t appear to allow me to do so below your comment).

          I’m glad you liked Tim’s review. That’s great!

          I’m not sure what you are referring to when you say I wrote a review. If my suspicions are correct and you are referring to my comment above in response to Tim’s review, I’d like to point out that my comment was not a review of the album but a submission in reply to Tim’s review. It was substantive because I was addressing – and responding to – a number of matters in his review. I’m not referring to opinions here; I am referring to some matters Tim used in support of his conclusions, which in my view were insufficiently particularised. That, as I’m sure you can tell, can be readily distinguished from a review. It is not intended to be entertaining. To address one of your questions (“who are you to say what makes a proper review?”) – in my view, one method by which to discern the propriety of a review or opinion piece is to look at how well it is particularised. Where this aspect is demonstrably deficient, it is hard to distinguish the piece from a lazy scrawl in a public lavatory. I hardly think that’s what this website is about.

          Putting that matter aside, I’m interested to know which parts of my comment above in reply to Tim’s review you considered to be “factually incorrect”. I tried to be thorough with the facts but may have made an error. I can’t locate anything that is factually incorrect from a second read so would be grateful if you could please point them out.

          1. G-PIG…My apologies – yours was a “piece” written in response to a review. I suppose I called it a review as shorthand for what would be more accurate “a comment on a review which appears to be considered and well-written so could be mistaken for a review, not least in the paragraph starting “That theme is expressed in the album in several tracks”.”

            I will address some of your points –

            “I am referring to some matters Tim used in support of his conclusions, which in my view were insufficiently particularised.” I would suggest that this sentence displays precisely why I like Tim’s writing and yours less so – he understands that you do not need to evidence every detail, you think you do. Does the review entertain (ie is it pleasurable to read or is it a drag)? Tim’s is pleasurable, your words are less so. Does it help one decide whether to listen to the album or not? Both your words and Tim’s help convince me that there is no reason to listen to his music, not one second of it, so both pieces of writing succeed on that front.

            “It is not intended to be entertaining.” Neither is FJM’s music by the sounds of every review I have ever read, positive and negative. Writing about music should intend to be somewhat entertaining IMHO.

            “in my view, one method by which to discern the propriety of a review or opinion piece is to look at how well it is particularised.” I could not disagree with you more. Reading a review takes time, and I want my time to be pleasurably spent, not have the review unnecessarily serious and logical for no good reason (FFS – we’re talking about a music review which is ultimately meaningless when you can listen to the record instead, an album review shouldn’t be treated like one would plan the build of a nuclear power station).

            “I’m interested to know which parts of my comment above in reply to Tim’s review you considered to be “factually incorrect”.”

            When I made that comment it wasn’t deadly serious, it was just chucked in for effect. Remember, this is writing about music, we’re not planning a nuclear power station, it doesn’t matter if half of what you say is total bollocks. That said I will now try to find your factual inaccuracies.

            “It reads like a high school critique of a prescribed text written by a student who didn’t spend the time to read or put in the mental effort to understand it beyond their initial, undeveloped, thoughts.” It doesn’t – it reads like a perfectly competent and reasonable review of a crap album.

            “By your approach, as certainly-not-the-first person to express such vitriol in a pompous, bitter review posted in a no-name independent music blog”. The review was not pompous or bitter and the blog has a name “God Is In The TV”.

            ” you, Tim, exhibit the very repulsive characteristics of which you accuse Tillman.” No he doesn’t.

            “The only difference is that you didn’t spend the time nor put in the mental effort to produce something creative out of those feelings or ideas.” Yes he did – the review which is a creative piece of work (not the rational proveable thing you seem to think a review is and should be).

        3. Wild Eye – once again, replying to your comment below.

          Thanks for your response. I feel it provides a sufficient level of clarity in respect of your perspective and approach to this matter for me to end the conversation here. My sense from your response is that we are in disagreement regarding some basic key premises: the content of music reviews and the purpose of reading them; how conclusions are drawn in an opinion piece; and the credibility of opinions. I am content with taking my approach of rigorous thought correlating with logical conclusions. I am equally respectful of your approach and how you draw entertainment and pleasure from these reviews. Thanks for openly sharing your perspective here; I’ve certainly taken something away from this exchange.

          1. G-PIG. “Agree to disagree” seems reasonable at this point! I wish to say a couple more things which might provoke further debate, but I hope are not so provocative that you feel that you have to respond. I am expanding on my thoughts. And thank you for acknowledging my point of view – at the very minimum, in return, I should and will consider when and where greater elements of your approach are appropriate.

            I can certainly see how one could take the view that in order to trust the reviewer one needs to see that their prior knowledge is good, that they approach the music with open ears and an open mind and that their thought process is reasoned and rational. There is certainly – at the least – a place for some of that in music criticism.

            But the two biggest flaws in this approach that I can see are –

            (1) Music is very personal, and a rational analysis cannot ever possibly explain why one person loves band A and hates band B, whilst a second person thinks the reverse, even though superficially both bands are pretty similar.

            (2) It totally overlooks that – for me, and I suspect many others – music is not just about the music. When I say that I love Skinny Girl Diet it is partly that I absolutely love the music… but that love of the music is amplified by the fact that I love the way they conduct themselves in interviews, the words they say, their politics, the way they present themselves on stage, the way they make videos and dress for photoshoots. An overly rational assessment of the SKD album would almost inevitably overlook the way that however good the music is one’s enjoyment of it is amplified by the positive effect of the whole package you’re buying into. When I say I hate FJM it is mainly because everything I have read about him – positive and negative – presents a package that I do not want to buy into on any level. Comparisons to Elton John and 70s MOR being a key part of that, but not exclusively.

            Overall I believe that my approach is more reliable. 50 hurried words from a passionate writer who I know and trust tells me so much more than any amount of rational analysis. That said a rational analysis (good or bad) can confirm negative preconceptions pretty damn well as well.

            When I first read the music press I hated ET. One day (and it literally was over one article where – as I recall – he pretty much ignored the interviewee and spent the whole page talking about himself) I just got it and I have never looked back.

      2. G-Pig’s post is a dull run-through of track tempos and what instruments were used. Doesn’t tell me anything about how the music makes him/her FEEL. I wonder why so many people bother to read music writing when they lack even a basic grasp of what the point of it is.

        1. Hey Tim, I’m seriously questioning your ability to process ideas and engage with them, to the point that I’m not sure there’s any point in replying to you.

          However, for clarity, the feeling I get from this album is one of liberation (for the reasons in my original post); I’d call it a personal catharsis, or a lifting of my spirit beyond the ubiquitous banal and ennui of modern life. Again, I’d suggest giving the album a few more spins to develop your thinking.

          1. Give it a few more spins? Er, how about no? Has it not clicked with you yet that I think the record is a pile of shit, and that there’s a massive whiff of emperor’s new clothes about the critical reaction to it? Why would I waste any more time listening to this third rate MOR bilge – that I’ve already forced myself to endure several times – when there is so much good stuff out there that is more deserving of my attention?

            You like the record – I don’t. I don’t care that you like it – obviously I’m happy for you that it brings you pleasure – and I don’t get why it seems to bother you so much that I don’t.

        2. Tim. It’s not that you don’t like the album that bothers me; it would be boring if we all liked and disliked the same things. I enjoy reading different perspectives. What I’ve taken issue with is your approach to supporting your perspective, not your opinion of the album. I felt your writing fell short of expressing anything thoughtful. It came across to me as puffery; entertainment without substance. For something that is labeled a review, this was disappointing.

          1. “What I’ve taken issue with is your approach to supporting your perspective, not your opinion of the album. I felt your writing fell short of expressing anything thoughtful. It came across to me as puffery; entertainment without substance. For something that is labeled a review, this was disappointing.” I have to say G-Pig that I am astonished at how open Tim was to accepting what you said. I can’t see anything wrong with Tim’s approach. I don’t see it as thoughtless. I don’t see it as puffery on any level. I don’t see it as entertainment without substance (it was both, unlike your review which was all substance (albeit factually incorrect) and no entertainment). But more than that I am absolutely astonished that someone can say “For something that is labeled a review, this was disappointing”. Who are you to say what makes a ‘proper’ review’? Tim’s was a proper review, just one that you didn’t like. Just like I didn’t like your review. But my opinion that your review is both boring and utterly wrong is a very different think from suggesting that it is somehow not a proper review because I think it was a waste of time and words.

  9. To each their own. I got the album early on April 4th and have been spinning it. The reviewer is right that some the theories that he sings about are over used and said by a ton of other people; however, I think the music that accompanies it, and the melodies that FJM sings, are catchy and nice to hear.

    I think the album is like a psychedelic “John Wesley Harding.” You are either going to really like it or be pissed at FJM.

    To quote from “Leaving L.A.,” (a track on the album):

    And I’m merely a minor fascination to // Manic virginal lust and college dudes // I’m beginning to begin to see the end // Of how it all goes down between me and them // Some 10-verse chorus-less diatribe // Plays as they all jump ship, “I used to like this guy // This new shit really kinda makes me wanna die”

    1. I agree with the lyric. He clearly knows that some people are going to dislike this album because of the message. I didn’t think of Josh as a true narcissistic person until I read his current interviews in this album cycle. I can discount the his interview commentary and acting like jerkoff if I like the music. I’m supporting him as an artist not as a bro.

  10. There’s a sociopath in the White House, Brexit is now inevitable and the price of avocados continues to grow by the day. Yet despite this apocalypic backdrop of doom we’re actually foisting our collective energy on whether the FJM album is any good or not.

    When our grandchildren turn to us and ask “Grandad, what did you do to avert the destruction of civilization as we know it?” we can answer with pride that we at least had a clear conscience on the merits of Track 5!

    1. to be fair Tim, Everett True was a tired old has been when I knew him

      The only band he liked that was any good was Nirvana and he had to suck cock to get close to them

      1. I have not got a clue, Scruff, whether you are serious or joking or both. But I will say this. I like to read decent music journalism. In the context of the drivel produced by the likes of NME (spit) and most websites I accidentally click on, a boring old fuck repeating the word shit is up there in the top 5%, maybe even top 0.1%, of music journalism nowadays.

  11. All in all, I just wished someone who didn’t totally hate FJM reviewed this album. You certainly didn’t need to ask a super fan to do the review, but picking someone who went into this hating the FJM persona seems like a misstep. Even giving the album say a 5 or 6 is more reasonable. Giving it a rating this low just makes it feel like there was no subjectivity at all. There are some good tunes on this album, but you will find non of that in this review. Just talk about shit smears and unoriginal ideas done better elsewhere. I can’t remember where, but I know for certain that I saw the 15 year old poetry line somewhere else on the net back when this first leaked…

    Has this site ever had a review receive this much feedback? Just curious. Maybe you guys shouldn’t score albums, ’cause from reading the review I would think this bad boy got a 0… Why even give it a 3?

  12. You would’ve thought that professional writers for NME and MM would have a basic grasp of grammar and spelling.

    Me? I used to write for Sounds and had some best-selling paperbacks too. I have also appeared on bank notes in some countries.

  13. I have never heard Father John Misty, I have always suspected that he’d be tedious, boring faux-“authentic” rubbish. I appreciate being able to read a review that has both entertained me and allowed me to go from 99% sure to 100% sure that I never want to hear one note of his music.

    Generally I don’t think things should be scored, but the odd 0/10 or 11 or 12/10 is acceptable. But given that every album is normally a 7 or 8 giving a 3 actually equates to a more accurate -4 for FTM.

    Satanically bad music.

  14. Jeez… I’ve just googled this Tillman guy up and discovered he used to be in Fleet Foxes. Sometimes I doubt myself when I say you can judge a record perfectly just by looking at photos of and the name of the musician. But you can, you really can, you don’t even need to know every horrid band they used to be in.

  15. Amazing how a bad review of a great album can generate such traffic

    And an average review of a below average album like Future Islands generate none

    Takes me right back to the hate mail days from disgruntled readers!!

  16. YEAH A WRITER MUST NEVER ever F*CKING DISAGREE with a reader, NEVER EVER, NOT IN MY DAY IT NEVER HAPPENED! WE JUST DOLLED OUT THOSE FIVE STARS TO BIG LIAM AND THE LADS, NO QUESTIONS OR BROWN ENVELOPES EXCHANGED HONEST, THEN WE HEADED to KNEBWORTH to SNORT lines WITH MCGEE and The OASIS ARMY FFS! ‘NO WRITER MUST HAVE AN OPINION THAT DIFFERS FROM THE NORM,’ EVERYONE MUST AGREE WITH THE C*NTING CRITICAL CONSENSUS!! YOU MUST NOT DISAGREE WITH YOUR READERS! HOW C*NTING SCROAT CLENCHINGPY TEDIOUS!F*CKSAKES SCRUFF WHO ARE YOU???THE BORIS JOHNSON OF THE MUSIC WORLD? THE F*CKING TRUMP OF MUSIC JOURNALISM!MY WORD IS FINAL??? SO YOU DISAGREE WITH A REVIEW, CALL THE WRITER OUT AND HE CAN’T REPLY F*CK SAKES! IT’S AN OPINION AND CRITIQUE AN ENTERTAINING ONE, I HAVE NEVER HEARD A NOTE OF THIS FJM CHARACTER BUT NOW I WILL LISTEN TO HIM AND MAKE MY OWN F*CKING MIND UP! BECAUSE OF THIS REVIEW! EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO AN OPINION MOST OF ALL A MUSIC WRITER! SO IT DOESN’T FIT WITH YOURS, GROW SOME SKIN! AND AS FOR TECHNICAL REVIEWS, REVIEWS ARE AS MUCH IF NOT MORE, ABOUT PERSONALITY, FEEL, PASSION, F*CKING BALLS, NOT JUST WHICH MINOR C*NTING 7TH CHORD WAS PLAYED OR WHO WAS ON NOSE FLUTE! WHO CARES IF HE’S PAID ???THERE ARE SOME DREADFUL F*CKING PAID JOURNOS IN THE WORLD! YOU DO REALISE MOST WRITERS ARE UNPAID ESPECIALLY STARTING OUT! LOVE THIS SITE ITS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR IN A STAGNANT MUSIC PUBLICATION LANDSCAPE! KEEP IT UP GUYS!

  17. You can’t judge a man by his skin
    Or a book by the cover it’s in
    But I can’t help feel it’s true
    The devil’s got a hand on you

    In a world of laughter
    Where the madmen thrive
    Sewing up your death-shroud
    From the inside

    I see a skull on a stick
    I see a skeleton with skin
    I’m getting by just the best I can
    Whilst I’m directing traffic

    oooh now THAT takes me back

    PS I was one of the few people who gave Be Here Now a poor review at the time, bar for that GREAT RANT

  18. yeah, cos defunct magazines articles are still online after 20 years arent they Tim…………

    This may suit your cliched response that it doesnt exist, but I’m me and you are you, so I have the advantage of knowing

    I’ll send you a copy in the post so you can learn how to write

  19. no sorry, I’d be more than happy to look like Taylor Parkes though, if I was a woman

    However I have just found some of my early work online so you are right about old magazines being available

    Sadly by 1997 I was elsewhere, cos I’m Select-ive nor did one of my fellow co writers know about Ted back then…………..

    1. Wasn’t going to get involved in this, but you’re making yourself look silly here, “Scruff”. I am presuming you did a lazy search on Taylor Parkes and saw the photograph of the attractive lady who appears when you Google him. Said lady is Lauren Laverne, who he (Taylor) was (quite famously to those of us working in the music press) dating at the time. Stop saying you wrote for Melody Maker. You didn’t. I would suggest either providing links to your work to prove everyone wrong or just backing down, because that hole is growing ever deeper. Just accept that Tim didn’t like the album. Does it matter? Seriously?

  20. Yes, Loz I was taking the piss.

    Seeing as Lauren presents Glasto every year I think I would recognize her.

    I wrote for MM, I also wrote for Select, hence the clue above, same time as Linehan did who went on to write Father Ted, some of my stuff is in their archives on line. The MM work was largely freelance as was stuff for the NME, I wasnt staff but as you probably are aware of both mags had lots of contributors that werent staff Ive also managed bands and done radio shows and am well know for being a wind up merchant

    Scruff has been my nickname since 1990, its not new, anyone who knows me or is on my Facebook woild know that

    I;m not willing to tell you my real name as I had many previous stalkers online, so if you choose to believe I didnt write for a living its no skin off my nose. I still do from time to time which is why I turned Bill down when asked to write for this site

    Ive accepted Tim didnt like the album as soon as I read the review, what I cant accept like many other commenters here is that he calls himself a writer

    Ive had my fun, and I’m glad to be responsible for the most traffic this site has ever had

    Maybe Tim or Wright could give Liam’s new album 0/10 and then we can really have some fun

    1. Your arrogance is astounding. Your writing on this thread has a fair few sentences that are dreadfully written, yet you tell someone who wrote a perfectly good review that he is not a writer. You claim credit for this thread’s view numbers when I suspect the things that interest other people are similar to my interests – (1) Why so many people – even critics who should know better – like FJM and similar crap… Tim’s review makes an interesting counter-point; (2) G-Pigs comments; (3) Tim and Loz’s defence of the review. Your input is well down the list of interesting things on this page.

      1. I’d say a Walter Mitty figure claiming he used to write for Melody Maker but being unable to provide a single shred of evidence to back up his claim, nor any evidence of being able to write coherently, is a fairly interesting thing. Maybe not enough in itself to generate over 1500 views, but entertaining nonetheless.

        1. I could provide you with the first page of my novel Tim

          But a cynic like you would only say Ive stolen it even if I linked to the forum that damns me with praise for my writing, or the Facebook group I store my ideas in.

          I dont need to feed the cynics, especially ones who cant write for toffee, even your accurate reviews like Fujiya and Miyagi miss blatantly obvious reference points and direct influences

          The fact you are STILL responding proves my point, you are trolling your own work my friend and resorting to the cliche that I must be one, or even a fantasist to justify your actions

          1. Ah so the correct way to review a record is to list every single identifiable influence/reference? Thanks for the lesson. So instead of reviewing Pure Comedy I should’ve just dug out an old Radio 2 playlist from 1973 and posted that.

            Shame you’re not willing to share your novel though as I would love to read it. What’s it called – Crime & Punishment? Moby Dick? American Psycho?

  21. It is really exciting having a proper star on this thread, and not only that one who is so much into having fun with his fans, letting them play a guessing game.

    I’m going to get off the fence and say that you are definitely one of –

    John Harris – very unlikely, but possible.
    Roy Wilkinson – unlikely, but possible.
    Some random 14 year old (no offence to 14 year olds) who types with one finger of his left hand because his other hand is otherwise engaged – possible.
    John Mullen – most likely.

  22. page 1

    Rain like daggers into my heart. Grey skies to perfectly mirror my distant mood. This is summer Nineteen ninety nine. Infinite boredom. A tree shimmers lonely through my window. I think of myself in bloom, this rain, this endless rain. I consider my plight, the tree sways cowering from the relentless attack of natures cruelty. Is this rain ever going to cease. I consider walking boldly outside to challenge heaven with outstretched arms. It is but brief consideration. I fall gently downwards staring into the eye of the storm, the storm inside of me fuelled by the poisonous intake of soul destroying malcontent. The bottle almost empty. I see my distorted reflection down the eye of the needle, raging eyes of lethargic reason staring right back at me, vanishing in the slow motion stream of day old malt upon glass towards its welcome host. It is 11-34 am.

    Through broken glass I ascend to take on God and all his fucked up reason, barefoot on grass, blood pours from the open wound. I ask the invisible stars “Am I your only son, on hands and knees I bleed for you”. I hear the cocophony of muttered rumouring and see the gallery of unconcerned faces behind twitching curtains as I fall back to earth. I laugh merciless and wild. The crowd filter back behind bitter windows.

    Full of hate, daytime television replaced by the flames of state of the art Japanese technology and the stench of melting plastic, strangely fascinated by the flickering imagery I sit and stare. Disturbed only by the passing of teenage sex. I stare from the window, sixteen years of strawberry blonde hair perfection, legs of infinite mystery. I dream of those days. Im reminded that never will I hold such beauty again. She disappears from view. I hold her image and make love to it in my mind, later to repeat the process. My first and only lover

    The waiting destroys me. Filling my days, when all the talkings done-nothings really been said. Thats the aching truth. I retire upstairs to shine my collection, my pride and only joy. Taking the silver neck of finest American steel between my drying lips I tenderly caress the trigger. One tender loving stroke and all the talking will be over. The voices gone forever.My shaking hand caresses the steel, endless rain battering against the bedroom window interupts the silence. I place the gun down onto the sheets and polish it gently. Every stroke a moments weakness until back into the wardrobe she goes. Maybe we will share another kiss tomorrow. I step outside for the second time today, curtains twitch,tongues ache with tomorrows stories and next weeks memories. My lonliness forgotten for the few hours I spend each day with my friends.

    Each night around 7pm we sit on Mick’s wall. Somenights we decide to fish upon Gerrards Lodge, it depends on the weather. Todays earlier rain went away around 5. We await Darren joining us denouncing life in his Southern gravelly tones. We wait for our other friends Curly and our writer friend Joe. Curly will drive us to the water, Joe will sit back seat and analyse for future masterpieces. Micks next door neighbour Amy with friend Jane join us for a fleeting moment before departing to meet two lucky young punks. Jane smiles sexually at Joe as the car pulls up, Joe and Darren decide not to fish tonight I’m driven with visions of their brutal murders as they close the doors to Darrens place, Amy and Jane giggling behind them. Lucky punks indeed. The vision soon passes. We load the car with rods and baskets as we assissinate the character of our chosen friends with jealous spleen venting longingness.

    The water looks calm tonight considering the afternoon storms. I cast my float and chosen bait ten feet in front of my chosen peg. Mick and Curly are to my right. Is my imagination telling me that they are choosing to greet me with more sideways glances and whispered half truths than usual? I shout insult with reference to Joe and Darrens choice of company. Their bitter laughter alerts the attention of the other anglers. We smile at each other knowingly and contentedly. I stare at the waters surface, hypnotic patterns catching my eyes. In each of them an aspect of my life. Heaven opens briefly, brutal hard rains spearing the pond. Along with the fish we retire to safety. Sheltering in the derelict hut behind the pond we see the sun return to the sky. A rainbow appears behind Winter Hill on the distant horizon. I dream of finding new colours and taking polaroid pictures to show to Darren and Joe. We return to the water, I cast again. My hook tangles and sticks within the surface of a solitary lilipad. I struggle to free it. An impossible task. The float dissappears forever and my rage is undefined. I take the rod in hand splintering it into a thousand tiny fibreglass pieces. My friends and other companions look upon me astonished. The fishing over for tonight.

    We return to Micks wall, not a single word spoken on the journey back home. Dusk has fallen and in the light of Darrens window I see the silohuette of Amys perfect naked body as Joe pulls her towards him. Mick chooses not to see it and blows cold air onto his steaming coffee. Im boiling inside. Curly drives away leaving us to reflect upon the day, hours pass. Midnight welcomes another day as Joe leaves Darrens place with the two girls,one either side. Anne smiles innocently at me. Moments later I glance backwards as her bedroom light flickers into use. Behind pink curtains I picture her writing her diary and dream she will write about me. Darren joins us on the wall as Joe walks Jane home. He tells us of the nights events and we pretend we dont believe him.

    When all the talkings done we call it a night. With what could be the last goodbye. I return to to empty bottles and broken television sets to compete with my terminal boredom. Switching on the radio I hear “Bittersweet Sympathy” by The Verve, reminding me of last years concert at Haigh Hall Park that everyone still talks about. A concert attended by everyone but me. I feel all alone. I switch off the radio. I hear the distant argument of marital discord from the house next door. The barking of a dog on the needle spread playing fields and the revving of engines from the drug chalet at the end of the row. The phone rings. A voice cackles satanic vulgarities at me. I go to replace the handset. It is already there. I tell the voices to stop as I rock backward and forwards upon my bed. Insomnia strikes its mortal coil. I pace around my madness barking insults at its twisted reflection. I switch the radio back on, the pounding rythms of drum n bass encompassing my insanity. I hurl the radio through the window without first unplugging it, sparks fly,glass smashes. Its 3-16am. I’m surrounded by sychophants,hypocrits and the desperate few. I decide its time to barter with the moon. The moon isnt listening, it just smiles its illuminating wisdom highlighting my figure at the shattered window. I see the bedroom lights of the Apathenian royals switching on like a neon snake. Someone shouts me down, another hurls impurities from mocking lips. I close the curtains for the endless rain to attack me through the jagged glass. A puddle forms on the barely carpeted floor.Its so cold. Voices urge me on. Defenceless I walk the lonely length of the bedroom. I open the wardrobe door.

    1. Hope this is a rough draft as it’s full of typos. And surely a professional music writer would know it’s Bittersweet Symphony, not Sympathy.

  23. its the character doing the narrative getting the song wrong Tim, not the writer Seeing as he’s in meltdown at that point it might as well have been an Oasis song attached to that gig

    Seeing as that song is one of my all time favourites yes I do know its Symphony

    You are right about the rough draft though, had to pull that off a computer thats over a decade old. Ive never been great with spelling just ideas, that why proof readers exist and in this day and age, spellcheckers

    But thanks for the constructive input

  24. Alright I know I’m late but I just read this and have two things:

    1) I appreciate reviewers who have unique opinions. Its all in a sense arbitrary and the beauty of music is that we can find meaning in different things.

    2) The only part of the review that was painful to me was the “my fifteen year old self wants his poetry back.” Ironically that line reminds me of stuff that we used to say in high school and came across as juvenile. I didn’t mind the rest.

    Cool.

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