Josh Pyke

Chimney's Afire

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Though his career keeps progressing, Josh Pyke's music doesn't seem to move much, album to album. Chimney's Afire is ironically anything but afire, with decidedly safe music throughout. Pyke doesn't quite sound like anyone else, to his credit, but the music is strangely familiar and formulaic at the same time. There's a careful composition skill at work in the creation of these pieces, that makes ballads and pop ditties with equal aplomb and yet refuses to stand out at all from the other songs, or from other music on the market. Just a couple of tracks hold any reasonable energy -- "Make You Happy," which holds a bit of mid-'90s American contemporary rock to it, and "You Don't Scare Me," which starts out with a thumping Ramones-style beat, but moves into a silky vocal line, something that Jonathan Coulton might have used in a parody of contemporary music. There's serious ability within Pyke's work, and yet the execution provides nothing of lasting impact. Use it for excellent ambient background music, but don't expect to be blown away.

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