Ryan Star graduates to a new level of artistry on "Angels + Animals" (Ryan Star), taking the emotion his work has always had and the craftsmanship he learned on his major-label debut, "11:59," and setting it in a new, ambitious context.

Pop concept albums are exceedingly hard to pull off, but Star manages in this tale of love lost and reclaimed. It's like he commandeered adult pop radio to tell his story, with "We Were Kings" as dramatic as Imagine Dragons, "My Life" as emotional as Passenger and the single "Impossible" using catchy rhythms and subtle guitar to build an inspirational sing-along.

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"Angels + Animals"


BOTTOM LINE A well-crafted, heartfelt concept album on love and loss.