Fever Breaks Image
Metascore
75

Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

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  • Summary: The 10th full-length studio release for the singer-songwriter was produced by Jason Isbell and features contributions from Amanda Shires and members of Isbell's the 400 Unit.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Q Magazine
    May 15, 2019
    80
    Fever Breaks is sharp and lean. [Jul 2019, p.114]
  2. Uncut
    Apr 30, 2019
    80
    The results are exemplary. [Jun 2019, p.26]
  3. 80
    Ritter hasn’t just surrounded himself with some of the best musicians in the game for his milestone tenth album, but he’s found a way to reinvent himself while not forgetting where he’s come from. After twenty years, this pillar of Americana folk is as relevant as ever, and sounding better than ever too.
  4. Apr 30, 2019
    70
    Fever Breaks is a moving exercise in reshuffling and restating what a long-time talent does best in a just-new-enough guise.
  5. Apr 30, 2019
    70
    Throughout, the 400 Unit, specifically Amanda Shires, who provides soaring harmonies and some truly emotive violin work, adds considerable sonic heft to the proceedings, and help to imbue Ritter's workmanlike folk-rock narratives with the kind of studio finesse that sometimes eludes him when left to his own devices.
  6. Apr 30, 2019
    70
    This album as a whole doesn't quite match the consistent glories of such earlier albums as Hello Starling and The Animal Years, but he remains an artist eminently worthy of attention.
  7. Mojo
    May 1, 2019
    60
    A career-builder, if not a game-changer. [Jun 2019, p.89]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Jul 14, 2019
    9
    After a few mediocre albums, Fever Breaks sees Josh Ritter return to form as one of the best singer/songwriters of this, or any otherAfter a few mediocre albums, Fever Breaks sees Josh Ritter return to form as one of the best singer/songwriters of this, or any other generation. Sonically this album ranks as one of the best I've heard in recent years. The musicianship shines through with tasteful crescendos and delicate hooks, appearing between the cracks of Ritters beautiful and dramatic storytelling.
    It's wonderful to hear a master back at the top of his game.
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  2. Sep 3, 2019
    8
    I've followed Ritter's career closely since about 2001. He's undoubtedly in debt to Dylan but he is also a top rate song writer in terms ofI've followed Ritter's career closely since about 2001. He's undoubtedly in debt to Dylan but he is also a top rate song writer in terms of telling a story or narrative over a decent tune. One of his strengths as an artist is his consistency. I can't point to a single one of his albums that was disappointing. Even 2017's "Gathering", which veered far too into country fair rock and was arguably the weakest of his extensive back catalog, had enough to like to revisit. That said, there was a bit of pressure with "Fever Breaks" to hit the right spots more often after the underwhelming "Gathering". "Ground Don't Want Me" is classic Josh Ritter. Crafted lyrics over what is essentially a country rock number but with a dark folk aspect to it as well. It opens the album perfectly, ensuring his existing fans are invited to make themselves comfortable while at the same time lulling listeners into a softness before ripping into "Old Black Magic", an all out rock number by Ritter's standards which see's him sounding like he's really enjoying himself. "On the Water" is a pretty tune, again we see Ritter's lovely lyrical style on top of a up tempo yet soft folk number. "I Still Love You (Now and Then)" is more standard country rock, reminiscent of the likes of Phosphorescent or even Counting Crows . "The Torch Committee" is my personal favourite from the album, taken from the school of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds but with very much Ritter's own touch. Lyrically great but musically absolutely epic. "Silverblade" is a come down and almost and reprise of the previous track. "All Some Kind of Dream" heads back to the mid tempo country rock ballad as Ritter laments the way his home country has gone in recent years with respect to helping the needy. The final quarter of the album loses momentum somewhat. "Losing Battles" trys for loud but lacks a real punch, "A New Man" is 4 and a half minutes of very little while "Blazing Highway Home" is a nice finish to the album but not overly memorable. Expand
  3. May 13, 2020
    8
    If Sermon on the Rocks (2015) is his best album, then Fever Breaks (2019) is probably his 3rd best album. Solid throughout with all theIf Sermon on the Rocks (2015) is his best album, then Fever Breaks (2019) is probably his 3rd best album. Solid throughout with all the familiar vibes we've come to love from Josh Ritter without feeling like he's merely copying and pasting. I will listen to it over and over :) Expand
  4. Jun 25, 2019
    1
    I've been with Josh since "The Golden Age of Radio", and this album is such a massive disappointment. I thought an album with the poetry ofI've been with Josh since "The Golden Age of Radio", and this album is such a massive disappointment. I thought an album with the poetry of Ritter and the backing of Jason Isbell would just be non-stop magic...but the songwriting is just so flat, uninspired, and completely devoid of anything interesting to say. The music itself is...just okay.

    I just...am so sad that Josh Ritter has lost his spark for storytelling, but "The Gathering" was pretty bad too, so maybe the writing was on the wall.
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