The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
Some singer-songwriters just keep getting better, and Josh Ritter is at the head of that class. American, but sounding particularly Irish, Ritter is a classic in the tradition of Dylan, Springsteen and Van Morrison. This fifth album sees him leave the more traditional warm folk sound of his last two discs and head towards indie rock. And it's a gem. Starting on a real high with To The Dogs Or Whoever, where Highway 61 Revisited lyrics meet an indie Pogues sound, through a Spoon-like Minds Eye, to the simply gorgeous The Temptation of Adam, Historical Conquests sustains a remarkable quality.
Even if there is more electric guitar than previously, the warmth of his voice, the structures of the songs, the great lyrics and singable choruses tie this into his previous best work. At 14 songs, there are maybe a couple that could have been left for the single B-sides, but that's a minor quibble - others are instantly classic. Josh Ritter is one of the most reliably great singer-songwriters around - he has a huge live following in the US and Ireland - and this is a fascinating build on a fantastic run of albums. Album of the week.
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