I'm in two minds about this one.
I couldn't get into it at first, listening to it on my iPod, so I put the CD on my hi-fi and listened to it properly, and loud. It has to be loud.
There's a lot of stuff in here. A lot of words (listen carefully), a lot of ideas, and references, and cleverness. Some of it sounds really new, and yet some of it sounds really familiar, though it's hard to say why. `Mind's Eye' and `Right Moves' sound like songs you already know. It's not that they're derivative, I don't think, they just sound familiar in some way.
Then there are tracks like `Open Door', which I really like, that sounds new and interesting, with its emphasis on rhythm and repetitive melody creating a great effect. A lot of these songs major on effect.
And a lot rely on a driving rhythm section. And a cracking chorus. You just know these songs are going to go down so well with the student crowd at gigs where they like to sing along at the tops of their voices. It's almost like an album designed for that crowd. It'll be great live.
So many catchy choruses and lyrics too! You'll be singing half the songs to yourself within a couple of days. In so many ways it's really great.
So I feel it's a bit unfair to criticise it when it's just a matter of taste. All I'm going to say is that, obviously brilliant as it is in so many ways, and as much as I like Josh Ritter's other albums, I just don't see me listening to this much. The reason is simple: I like Josh's melodic slow and mid-tempo songs the most. Usually they're the best songs on his albums. But on this one, the uptempo stuff is the best stuff by far (the slow songs are even a bit weak I think). It's just not totally my taste.