Josh Pyke - Feeding the Wolves

When I first heard 'Middle of the Hill' about a month back I thought ‘Hey, a Ben Lee song I actually like, wow, who would have thunk it?' That was until I heard the back announce and discovered that it was actually young up-and-comer Josh Pyke. Each time I heard the song afterwards, I would find something new that I liked about it. From the narrative, the rolling melody to the way the Pyke's voice would lilt, rise and send me to back to the nostalgia of my own childhood.


So when I opened up the envelope containing this week's CDs for review and saw Feeding the Wolves, I was filled with trepidation; I was going to hate it or I was going to love it. No middle ground, nothing in between, no indecision. I admit it, I was scared.


I don't get the opportunity to say that an album touches on perfection very often. Now is one of those times.


Opening with the sublime 'Beg Your Pardon', Feeding the Wolves is a visceral journey through the musical magic of Josh Pyke.


It is difficult to pick out tracks for analysis, because this is one of the few albums that prompt listening to from beginning to end (although clocking at just under 28 minutes its not that hard). But I can assure you that it will be 28 minutes well spent over and over again.


Each track is a beautifully crafted narrative, bereft of the ham-fisted requirement of rhyming. His words are emotive yet delivered in a subtle vocal style and all the while are utterly entrancing. Each track represents a different emotional journey from unbridled bliss, to nostalgia and to abject sadness. His ability to exploit the listener's emotions is the hallmark of a great singer/songwriter. Musically, the album is lush with dreamy guitars, heartbreaking strings and the odd French horn. More surprising is that most of the instrumentation is supplied by Pyke himself.


Kudos must also go to the producer Wayne Connolly (who also worked on my favourite Australian album of all time, You Am I's Hourly Daily). The production values on this album evoke the emotional intention of the songs contained within. The production is neither overbearing nor overblown; rather, Connolly has produced an atmospheric and acoustically perfect album.


Without wanting to sound too emphatic, I can say without reservation that Josh Pyke could become one of this countries leading singer/songwriters. I look forward to having my heart broken and mended over and over again listening to his future recordings. I suggest you get your heart broken and mended too.

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