Back in May, I wrote this piece about Aussie singer-songwriter Josh Pyke to try to put his music on the radar of a few more Americans. Now that his fourth record The Beginning and the End Of Everything is available, we can see if the buzz he generated with his single “Leeward Side” was worth it.
My take? It was definitely worth it—and then some.
First off, Pyke is an outstanding songwriter, able to mesh honest, introspective lyrics with captivating melodies without being too on-the-nose. He’s also able to flow seamlessly between 70’s influenced pop and current indie-folk while being completely convincing in both veins. Whether he’s dealing with the uncertainty of love on “Leeward Side” (“One day you know I’ll see you dancing away from me”) or presenting sensual lyrical imagery in “White Lines Dancing”, we believe him when he sings.
As I listened to The Beginning and the End Of Everything, I snooped around the Internet and found some critiques from those familiar with Pyke’s work (remember from my previous piece, he’s already fairly well-known in his Australian homeland) that this record has a bit too much in common with his previous records as far as songwriting style, or that his additional use of vocal doubling on this record affiliated him a bit too much with 70s pop. For me, I think these people might be missing the point. Josh Pyke has a sound that works for him, and while the folks “down under” are familiar with it, there are millions across the seas who are not. This record seems to have the intent of introducing Pyke to a broader audience—to grow his fan base, not placate his existing one—and the more polished production value is a way of putting his best foot forward. The point is, if this record is the first taste people have of Josh Pyke’s music (as will be the case for many), they are very likely to become fans. The record is well written, well-produced and well-performed, and it gives us a great picture of who Pyke is as an artist.
For me—in this case, I’m not that interested in picking apart what Josh Pyke did on this record as opposed to what he did or didn’t do on the last three. The Beginning and the End of Everything has made me a fan, and I’m content to spin this record for some time to come.
For Pyke, I think it’s more the beginning of everything, rather than the end.