Put simply, The Beginning And The End Of Everything captures Pyke’s signature gift for charming story telling. Heightened choruses and beautiful instrumentation will take your ears on a whirlwind tour of the illuminating worlds created in every song.
Despite the ominous title of Josh Pyke’s fourth album, the award-winning singer-songwriter and his musical output are showing no signs of stopping. And if you had his imaginative prowess and musical talent, why would you?
‘Leeward Side’ is reminiscent of Pyke’s older music with just the right amount of catchiness and chorus sing-along-ability to be expected from a single by one of Australia’s favourite folk musicians. This track in particular flaunts Pyke’s skill in the harmonious unearthing of simple melodies and lyrics. Thankfully, harmonicas don’t err on the side of cliché and actually prick up your ears to honest lyrics: “‘Cause I wanna be someone / Worthy of your conversation.” This musical yearning for acceptance also comes through in ‘Feet Of Clay’, another upbeat tune where Pyke articulates and then promptly stamps out any inklings of self-doubt.
The revealing use of idioms continues in ‘All the Very Best Of Us’, which sees a delicate collaboration with fellow Balmain local Holly Throsby. It follows on from the soothing collab with Katy Steele on ‘Punch In The Heart’ from 2011’s Only Sparrows. Throsby’s delicately measured vocals are equal parts enchanting and calming, making ‘All The Very Best Of Us’ one of the more moving tracks on the album.
The Beginning And The End Of Everything feels like the soundtrack to a warm, whirring dream sequence, as consistently layered harmonies project Pyke’s innermost thoughts, no more so than in the title track. Although Pyke’s vocals are normally grounded, ‘White Lines Dancing’ is allowed to waft slightly above ground. The lofty melody is introduced by syncopated percussion and immediately conjures up images of sea breezes and billowing white curtains.
BY KATIE DAVERN
The Beginning And The End Of Everything is out now through Ivy League.