We live in a very fast paced, often confusing and sometimes frightening, mixed up world. With this comes a lot of noise and commotion in both our day-to-day lives and the music world. It can be difficult to find refuge from it all, yet Josh Pyke is an oasis in the storm, a still point of purity that cuts through the crap and delivers an honest, warm sound that can’t help but put a smile on your face.
The opening track ‘Book of Revelations’ on Josh Pyke’s fifth studio album But For All These Shrinking Hearts commences with a slightly ominous and almost papal intro and with this, I prepare myself for a new sound. However, once the instant the classic folk-inspired beat of the drums kicks in, I feel at home in Pyke’s distinguishable sound that has been my companion for so many years.
Josh Pyke’s warmth continues throughout the track and translates into the album’s overall sound and generates an almost cinematic feel good quality. The sweeping, encompassing nature of the melodies are such as which you would expect in the conclusion of a coming-of-age film.
The track ‘Songlines’ would be perfect for this, to which Pyke tenderly sings out heartfelt lyrics and creates a soaring drumming crescendo which conjures an image of a tortured protagonist travelling smiling into the sunset with Josh Pyke’s stirring melodies as the soundtrack to their long awaited salvation.
Josh Pyke’s skill in lyricism is not to be overlooked either, for his narrative-driven writing style resonates of poetry or ancient folk stories told around a fireplace. He also manages to imbue just the right amount sentiment to feel like a personal story, but enough ambiguity to match anyone’s experience. In particular, the lyrics in ‘Late Night Driving’ stir sentimental poetry about a memory that isn’t mine, but is delivered with such melancholy fuelled nostalgia, that I feel it is.
The melancholia lurking in the shadows of Josh Pyke’s sweet and upbeat melodies could easily turn the album into a Smiths-esque spiral into the gloom and hopelessness of the world, yet somehow, Pyke avoids this by a long shot. Instead, Pyke makes peace with the darkness and lets the silver lining of every cloud he creates shine brighter than the gloom and instill a sense of hope in the listener.
This is most apparent in the track “’Hollering Hearts’ where the lyrics echo of darkness such as “I spend money and time trying to escape myself” yet speak of making peace, “Here’s the heart to follow to find the way to keep all these aching bones brand new”. Josh Pyke’s continuous play with the juxtaposition of light and darkness instills a poignancy in the nature of his songs that creates an album bursting with both feeling and joy.
But For All These Shrinking Hearts is an album that once again proves Josh Pyke’s legend status in the Australian music industry and is proof that true quality never rusts.
Hometown: Sydney, Australia.
Latest album: But For All These Shrinking Hearts, out July 2015.
Sounds like: Boy & Bear.
Say what? Fans have been known to play Josh Pyke’s songs at weddings, funerals and births of their children, Josh Pyke noted in an interview with art felicis. Josh Pyke has literally had his music present in the cycle of life – if that’s not an immense indication of talent I don’t know what is.
Catch ya’ on the flip side, Gabriella.