Christian Pyle, ‘Nothing Left to Burn’ album review

Christian Pyle, the North Coast’s most respected, irreverent and unconventional songwriter and producer, releases his new album, Nothing Left to Burn at the Buddha Bar on June 12th, supported by M Jack Bee and Sara Tindley.

It’s a vibrant, intelligent album bristling with verve, paranoia, anger and joy. Not for the faint-hearted, this oughta be the gig of the year.

The band employed to translate this auto-biographical electro-rock oddity comprises essential oddballs from the Byron hills. Nick Edin, Mikey B and Brendan Drinkwater are all consummate players with broad experience and appropriate eccentricities. Well versed in Pyle’s approach to music, they’ll tackle it with the proper combinations of gusto, skill and spontaneity.

Pyle is renowned for his idiosyncratic production, delivering  distinctive, highly crafted albums for artists as diverse as The Re-Mains, Ghost Mountain, Lucie Thorne, Jesse Younnan, Luke Vasella and Jodi Martin.

Nothing Left To Burn, entirely played on, recorded and produced by himself at his remote Goonengerry studio, bears his trademark sound –  expansive sound-scapes full of unexpected turns that reveal his fascination with tones generated from superb instruments and amplifiers, bizarre devices and electro-junk.

The album, a cryptic auto-biographical circumnavigation of Pyle’s own skull, is startlingly good.

Never one to court radio’s fleeting favour, Pyle is more concerned with lasting resonance than the flash of pop fodder. These songs, beautifully conceived, oddly played, are pop music for thinkers, painters, idlers and lovers. If Triple J were a better, grown-up station, they’d be all over it.

Opener Trees and Stone explains, in remarkably frank prose, how Pyle willingly came to his rural exile after a career seemingly destined for rock mayhem. From there it delves deeper into deliberations on fatherhood, (Wait Son) tangled and sometimes bitter relationships (Ray of Your Sunshine), emotional paranoia (Get Used To It) and regrets (At A Loss).

Across 14 tracks, some of which are a little too strange for even Pyle to reproduce live, there’s a full-blooded spectrum of an artist’s breathing work. Live, this should make for a confronting, exhilarating spectacle. Not an armchair ride though, only front up if you like your meat blood

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