Josh Tillman’s shtick as Father John Misty is to shock you with uncomfortable truths about modern American life while soothing you with mellow, Laurel Canyon-style rock—or so it would seem on Pure Comedy. As with his first two full-lengths, Tillman produced the album with Jonathan Wilson, a purveyor of vintage L.A. psychedelia. But Pure Comedy is distinctly more solemn and sedate than before, and perhaps that’s the appropriate tone when one sings of humanity’s insignificance or a civilization in decline. No distorted rockers nor jangly-pop moments this time around, just Tillman’s lyrical barbs suspended in a languid matrix of mystical folk rock. But it’s those warm, spacious arrangements that help us ease down the bitter pills he administers in songs like “Total Entertainment Forever,” “Ballad Of A Dying Man,” and the title track—an overt critique of our current political crisis (“Where did they find these goons they elected to rule them?”). Should we buy any of this from “another white guy in 2017 who takes himself so goddamn seriously”? Maybe that’s the joke. And if life is pure comedy, Father John Misty is the consummate jester, roasting himself as much as anyone.