But For All These Shrinking Hearts completely extinguished that little feeling of emptiness that was nagging at me today. Josh Pyke delivers soaring choruses and uplifting melodies through his own brand of storytelling to create a fifth full length album that’s nourishing to the soul. What stands out to me most about this album as a whole is Pyke’s own way of crafting a song. He follows an underlying chord sequence and overall structure, but his lyrical delivery and vocal melody is so fluid that it feels like he’s communicating in prose. The lazy delivery of the verse in Book Of Revelations and the earworm of a chorus in Songlines that has a slightly disjointed rhythm are early (but certainly not the only) examples.
There’s no drastic change in direction going on – you certainly won’t question that you’re listening to Josh Pyke. His easy-going indie pop vibes shine through with a few fingers dipped into folk territory once more, but everything sounds even more confident and polished than the last time around. The singer song-writer creates a feeling of richness and warmth, and if you close your eyes you could easily picture yourself at a laid back summer festival or on a spontaneous January road trip. It feels like Pyke has let go of any inhibitions production-wise to create a fuller sound. Late Night Driving, for example, has a really significant presence of strings as a core element rather than mere backing and support, which isn’t something that we’ve heard him do to such an extent before.
It’s a really easy sound overall to digest, but the album demonstrates Pyke’s strength in writing lyrics that are thoughtful and interesting, not lazy or predictable. In one of the slower tracks When Your Colours Go, the lyrics are a crucial part of creating the more sombre tone to bring the warm reverb down a notch: “We are the colour of something borrowed/Trying to pretend we’re something new/Oh when your colours go/When your colours go they won’t come back.”
But For All These Shrinking Hearts doesn’t significantly break into unchartered territory for Josh Pyke but for me that’s not a problem. There’s a real lively spirit about the album as a whole that makes for an uplifting and enriching listening experience.