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The Animal Years (Deluxe Edition)

Josh Ritter

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Album Review

Idaho-bred singer/songwriter Josh Ritter's V2 Records debut follows in the footsteps of 2003's Hello Starling only in instrumentation. While he retains his literate tongue and expressive voice, there is far less humor on Animal Years than on his previous two outings. Producer Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse) keeps Animal Years intimate but transient, like a circus train crawling through a small town on a busy Saturday afternoon. Essentially built around two startlingly affecting diatribes on the war in Iraq, Ritter utilizes the voices of Peter and Paul, as well as Laurel & Hardy, to eke some kind of explanation from both the Administration and the Creator. The first, the deceptively sweet-sounding "Girl in the War," threatens "The angels fly around in there, but we can't see them/I got a girl in the war, Paul I know that they can hear me yell/If they can't find a way to help her they can go to Hell." The second, "Thin Blue Flame," is a nearly ten-minute rant that follows the Velvet Underground "Heroin" arc of tinder to spark to full-on blaze in a way that hasn't worked for anyone in a long time, but most certainly does here. The other cuts never reach the same heights, but standouts such as "Wolves," with its sunrise gallop and "Whole of the Moon"-era Waterboys piano, and the languid "Monster Ballads" soar only inches beneath them. [The 2006 edition included one bonus track.]

Customer Reviews

Great Album

If you're a Josh Ritter fan this is the album to own. I loved Golden Age of Radio and didn't think that anything could compare. This album is right up there to me. Idaho, Best for the Best, Thin Blue Flame, Good Man, Girl In the War, etc., etc. Great album!

Some of Ritter's Best

Josh Ritter has some great tunes but this album is still my favorite. Girl in the War, Thin Blue Flame and Good Man are all regular "go-to" tracks for me. I don't "zone out" to music I focus on it and Ritter always delivers something for me to dwell on.

Biography

Born: 1976 in Moscow, Idaho

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

While his name might not be on the tip of everyone's tongue in his homeland, folk-leaning singer/songwriter Josh Ritter has benefited from numerous positive reviews and a loyal fan base. Born in Idaho, Ritter bought his first guitar after hearing the Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash classic "Girl from the North Country." While attending college in Oberlin, Ohio, Ritter got his first listen to Leonard Cohen and Gillian Welch. He instantly fell in love with their songs and dropped his neuroscience major in...
Full Bio

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