Josh Pyke reminds me of Bon Iver, and I like that.

My desire to explore and observe the Sydney music scene has led me to discover some really talented musicians and refreshing sounds. I’m excited to bring some new favorites home to add to my collection. One artist in particular really struck a chord with me, and that was Josh Pyke.

From the second I heard the track “Memories & Dust”, I knew I was intrigued and wanted more. So I went digging around the internet, probing my internship co-workers with questions, and listening to whatever tracks I could get my hands on. For some reason, the more I listened, the more I kept thinking about the music of Bon Iver. And as I dug into his latest release, Chimney’s Afire, it the similarities began to unfold.

It’s obvious that the two men both have the indie, folksy, singer-songwriter thing going on. They both also have those strong, thick, emotion-filled voices that emphasize their words simply by the way the bend the notes as they sing. What really got to me, were the sounds. It’s like I can hear nature in their music. It’s such a strong element to what shapes their music, and how they choose their lyrics, and the images those lyrics portray.

Whenever I hear a song from Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, I picture Justin Vernon up in that Wisconsin cabin, deep in the woods, being affected and inspired by life, experience, and surroundings. With Josh Pyke, I picture maritime dreams and a general zest for the adventure and complacency that comes with memories of life near the shores. I can hear swift rivers amongst thick woods and tides rolling in from the sea when I listen to his music. Particularly in tracks like “The Lighthouse Song”, “The Summer”, and “Our House Breathing”. The deep rich sounds of the guitar accompanied by the moving strings in “The Lighthouse” make for an extremely impressive emotional song. Even Pyke’s lyrics are carefully chosen to create that vivid imagery of sitting on a lookout and being inspired by seaside culture; boats, sailors, fishermen, going in and out with their stories, spotting whales in the distance, and just enjoying the surrounding nature and animals. Maybe I just have a way over-active imagination, but his music paints beautiful pictures in my head.

And as a disclaimer, I am NOT saying that Josh Pyke and Bon Iver sound the same or even alike for that matter, so don’t get yourselves all in a twist if those arguments were building in your head. Just noting similarities that I hear in writing styles and how both acts seem to have a talent for channeling nature and their surroundings into their music. Josh Pyke has a much more pop sound than Bon Iver, in the sense of a more up tempo-ness to his songs, and they don’t have that post-breakup longing of For Emma.

Anyway, try it out and see if you feel the same way. And even if you don’t, I hope you at least enjoy the music.

First-Time Listener Recommendations: “The Lighthouse Song”, “Memories & Dust”, “Our House Breathing”, “The Summer”

Ivy League


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