Josh Ritter's new album, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, follows on the heels of his critically acclaimed 2006 effort The Animal Years. This remarkable new collection of songs is Ritter's first album on the Sony/BMG label. But fear not, Josh Ritter's music has not degraded with more exposure and the corporate connection. In fact, it leapfrogs over his last effort, and has marked this songwriter as an artist that is special indeed.
The Historical Conquests proves that Josh Ritter is no fluke.
The songwriting on The Historical Conquests has the same strength of purpose that makes Ritter such an irresistible new artist, but here the songs are brittle and delivered with brio. The production is a roughhewn endeavour that provides ballast for a myriad of brilliant arrangements and melodic ideas. Sensible acoustic guitar and keyboard interludes mix with loose and lofty horns, pianos, strings and guitars. Frailty gives way to unshakable solidity, and the lyrics paint images that never become burdensome or trite.
Ritter utilizes the best features from a multitude of influences. The CD weaves together folk, country, alternative rock and pop music. Underneath the raw instrumentation are simple, but undeniably valuable songs that he bends to his will in a truly unforgettable way.
Not a single track on the record creates a desire to fast forward. On the contrary, it captures and holds you fast as it flows from one shining jewel to the next.
This one will make the year-end lists of many a cantankerous critic, put smiles on the faces of small children, and keep lovers in each others arms for just one more cigarette.
If The Animal Years brought Josh Ritter into view for you, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter will solidify for you what an immense talent this man is.
Not to be missed.