Ritter - Youth vs You (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Youth vs You (2008)


Having favorably reviewed Ritter's last release, the 2004 EP Six Degrees of Variation, the band was more than excited to pass along a copy of what seems to be their first release since that time. Youth vs You is their long-time-coming debut full-length, and unfortunately doesn't hit quite as hard as its predecessor.

Less dynamic and a little more poppy than Variation, Ritter often sounds like a band indebted to Over It's "forbidden beat" days, and, to a much lesser extent, Strung Out. However, aside from occasional moments of satisfying melodic punk (see much of the opening title track, or the chorus of "Burky"), Youth vs You is largely forgettable and unenjoyable despite the fair amount of variation present. In fact, a few moments are downright baffling: The piano and harmony-laced intro, as well as its layered chorus, of "A Day of Reckoning" borders on thoughts of Simple Plan, while the rest of the track bears weakly growled vocals and chugging guitars that recall a thinner Identity Crisis-era Thrice (this latter comparison pops up here and there throughout the rest of the album -- see "Tampered Souls" if you're not convinced). The juxtaposition is just unsettling.

In fact, the second half may be largely responsible for the album's faults. Nary is there a compelling moment here, with nothing that grabs the listener and makes them want to sing along or reveal impressions made at a guitar riff or transition -- maybe they'll give some patronizing head nodding, but that's at best.

Knowing Ritter is capable of much better than producing third-rate early 21st century Lobster Records material, Youth vs You is disappointing. Nearly four years in the making, the album is just overcooked, and shows why Jump Start Records perhaps passed on affixing their name to the back of the CD case like they so proudly beared on Variation's.

Once Hopeful