When Beck took the cosmic-folky route on “Sea Change” and last year’s equally masterful “Morning Phase,” his unblinking sincerity only deepened their conviction. Father John Misty’s “I Love You Honeybear” takes a more ramshackle approach to the same style, with vocals stretching into the distance, strings drenching fingerpicked acoustics, and saloon pianos aplenty. But with a default mode of arch snarkery, Misty doesn’t have much to say; he gets off a sharp line here and there, but can’t string them together into anything greater. Both “The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment” and “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow” are casually abusive takedowns of unnamed women, and there’s no indication that he believes things like “Love is just an institution based in human frailty,” just the feeling that he knows that saying them should raise an eyebrow or two. The relentless, overpowering “The Ideal Husband,” on the other hand, never lets up. And for once, the behavior he’s sarcastically excoriating is his own. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “The Ideal Husband“
Father John Misty performs at Paradise Rock Club on March 31.
Marc Hirsh can be reached at email@example.com.