Ryan Star’s follow-up album to 11:59 after a couple of EP releases and some questions about how he would release the album is Angels + Animals. The album has Star mixing a little bit of everything into this release. Incorporated on Angels + Animals are the hooks from 11:59, storytelling from the America EP, the independent freedom all the way back to his Elephant days, the edginess from his Animals EP, and a few other tricks along the way.
Star has always had each foot set in two different worlds. On one side you can tell that Star appreciates the artistry in music and creating something passionate with a narrative like a Joni Mitchell and other singer/songwriters from that era of music. On the other hand, Star can come up with a catchy song. What’s cool about Angels + Animals is that both of those qualities are on almost every song on the record. Go from “World I Used To Know” and then “My Life With You,” both are incorporated into each song over and over again. That’s the first time that Star has had a release like this.
The other cool thing about Angels + Animals is something that Star honed in on almost perfectly on 11:59. His music has always incorporated a lot of accents. Sonically everything fits together perfectly and it works because the timing is perfect. Angels + Animals does this even better than 11:59 and that’s part of the reason why it’s so enjoyable as an album experience.
Angels + Animals is an amazing record. I liked the Animals EP release, but Angels + Animals knocks what Star can do out of the park. Sure, at times he indulges a little too much (“Bullet” and “F*ck’n Up” come to mind) but even those songs have great moments in them that make you understand why he did what he did. Angels + Animals is a great album, now it’s up to Star to work as hard promoting this record as he did the last one.