A few years back I wrote a review for Josh Pyke’s Memories and Dust. While Memories and Dust was fairly consistent and surprisingly good for a debut, it had quite a few flaws. The major one is the use of pretentious metaphors saying how good he is. So, what has happened since he wrote that album?
He has come to reality and got rid of (mostly) his pretentiousness. So, does that mean it’s a good album? Well, yes but not great as he’d led you to believe. The lyrics are now just mediocre and lack a bit of substance. The majority of the album has a love theme to it, while it’s not a bad thing it can be a bit monotonous. This is further exemplified by his titles such as ‘Make you happy’ and ‘Don’t wanna let you down’. However, the latter of the two may be the best on the album. He sings, ‘I don’t wanna let you down/ So, I’m going to buy you a house and a dog/ And try to stick around’ this may be repeated a few (too many) times but it has the best sentiment. He still has some pretentious moments such as ‘Eat me alive’ which is basically what the title suggests. He sings, ‘I can only guess just what I would do if I didn’t do this and I didn’t know you/ They would eat me alive out there’, and then repeats it a few more times. Another would be the similarity of the vocal melodies in ‘The lighthouse song’ and his hit ‘Middle of the hill’.
Musically, it’s a lot more stripped down than Memories and Dust. While saying that it doesn’t mean it has none of the drums that made Memories and Dust feel like Elliott Smith. He shows some variations such as adding a bit more electric guitar and some piano to the mix. However, it doesn’t make it change the sound dramatically but still feels like a Josh Pyke record. This may be a good thing but it doesn’t leave me with a ‘wow, thats awesome’ and make me play it over again. He also includes a Christmas jingle bell tune on ‘You don’t scare me’ which is rather annoying (it can be heard in the background of a Vodafone ad if you listen carefully). It’s those types of things which can be refreshing but for the most part annoying as they have nothing to do with a song.
Overall, he still has potential to make a great album but can be a bit monotonous. He does shine with some of his lyrics but also has some rather sceptical lines (‘The eyes, the eyes’, on ‘Lines on the palm’). Musically, it’s still pretty good and fairly catchy but no songs can be hailed as great.