Australian rockers The Teskey Brothers have released their first studio album in four years, a patient and soulful blues-tinged record that builds on the sounds brothers Josh and Sam Teskey explored on their previous albums. Lyrically, The Winding Way is about love, heartbreak, hope and promises; musically, it shows the duo expanding instrumentally and pushing themselves to change the circumstances under which they’ve made music for years.
Recorded in Sydney, The Winding Way is out now via Ivy League Records in Australia and Glassnote Records in the U.S. The 10-track album didn’t take long to hit Australia’s ARIA Albums Chart, where it hit #1.
Though this is The Teskey Brothers’ third studio album, it’s the brothers’ first without bassist Brendon Love and drummer Liam Gough, both of whom left the band last fall. Now recording as a duo, the Teskeys teamed up with producer Eric Dubowsky, who previously worked with St. Vincent and Weezer, among others. Guitarist Sam Teskey, who was nominated for a Grammy for his engineering work on the band’s 2019 breakthrough Run Home Slow, said in a press release announcing The Winding Way that the duo’s goal was to “branch out” on the new album and try working with someone new.
From its lived-in feeling to its easy pace, the resulting album sounds like songs lost in time, a collection that would have felt just as natural if it had been released 30 years ago, instead of June of 2023. This is attributable in part to singer Josh Teskey, whose voice sounds a bit reminiscent of Otis Redding in its texture and pacing. This resemblance is especially striking on “Oceans of Emotions,” a single released in February on which the vocals’ soulful flavors shine. (Josh Teskey is aware of these comparisons but has disagreed in the past; he told The Sydney Morning Herald back in 2017 that, while he listened to the soul singer as he was growing up, he doesn’t think his voice is similar to Redding’s).
The Winding Way also cultivates its timeless feeling by layering horns and strings throughout. These elements elevate the album through songs like “Take My Heart,” which fully blossoms in its final minute. “This Will Be Our Year,” first released as a single last fall, also embraces a fuller sound by weaving in keys and horns. Musically and lyrically, the feel-good song is hopeful and aspirational, a track that would play well over the closing credits of a 1990s-era romantic comedy. “Now we’re there and we’ve only just begun / This will be our year / Took a long time to come.”
“Carry Me Home” stands in contrast as a stripped-down song that focuses listeners’ attention on its vocals, harmonica and soft guitar strumming. It’s a pretty, patient song with a bit of country twang that sits comfortably between “London Bridge,” another early single, and “This Will Be Our Year.” Though the quiet of “Carry Me Home” stands apart, it’s still similar in sound and texture to the rest of the album, which feels cohesive when absorbed as a whole.
The Winding Way winds to its conclusion with “What Will Be,” a nearly 8-minute song that promises devotion in its lyrics and wears well with repeated listens. “What Will Be” culminates The Winding Way at a point of strength, delivering a live feel with Josh Teskey’s vocals soaring above a full-bodied sound. Altogether, The Winding Way is a pleasurable listen—it sounds at once familiar and new, an album that feels appropriately matched for the summer season into which it has been launched.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Carry Me Home
– Blind Without You
– What Will Be
This Will Be Our Year
The Big Hit
– This Will Be Our Year