Josh Pyke has never been one to shy away from wearing his heart on his sleeve. It therefore comes as no surprise that his fourth studio album, The Beginning & The End Of Everything is his most self-proclaimed “personal” one to date. And although this is arguable given his previous EPs and albums, it seems as though Pyke still has plenty to write about.

The 11-track record has few surprises with Pyke sticking to his folk tinged singer-songwriter bread-and-butter. It’s a style where harmony and melodies collide with sophisticated lyrics, which this time around are influenced by Pyke’s two young sons and question about his desires, mortality and the sort of legacy he wants to leave behind.

It speaks volumes when the lyrics are the most engaging element of the album. This often forgotten aspect of a song is in fact the centrepiece, because all too familiar melodies are offered up and these are like a broken-in pair of shoes in that they’re often comfortable but occasionally rather tired. The brief opening track ‘Bug Eyed Beauty’ features multi-tracked harmonising and Pyke’s newly acquired 12-string guitar before the title track reprises the wolf themes from his break-through, Feeding The Wolves EP.

The single, ‘Leeward Side’ is a catchy little ditty where a buoyant blend of harmonica rings out over some Mumford & Son-style acoustic guitar fanfare. It’s where the album peaks and the overall finished product sits somewhere between Bob Evans and The Shins on the scales. This is followed by the raw, ‘Haunt You Love’ where Pyke turns his sights to a couple reduced to pale imitations of their former selves. It is sad and deeply cutting.

‘All The Very Best Of Us’, a with Holly Throsby, is a mid-album highlight with Throsby’s delicate vocals bringing a warmth to the proceedings. It’s followed by the darker ‘Feet Of Clay’ which sounds more like a lost therapy session.

The Beginning & The End Of Everything is a charming and confident record of heartfelt tales and tender love letters that will soothe Pyke’s long-time fans. However anyone expecting anything more than honest storytelling and a pleasant amble should look elsewhere.

Originally published on 15 July 2013 at the following website:–The-Beginning-The-End-Of-Everything

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