Thursday, May 11, 2006

CD review - Built to Spill: You in Reverse

Built to Spill are one of those indie bands that have been around for ages, and with good reason. Great anticipation surrounded their first release for five years. I'm giving it a 7/10.

ARTIST Built to Spill

ALBUM You in Reverse

LABEL Warner

YEAR 2006



Built to Spill's 2001 effort, the flat, complacent Ancient Melodies of the Future featured an electric guitar on the front cover, and with good reason. Built to Spill, have innocuously resided as giants of American indie rock for over ten years. Their latest album finds the Idahoan trio revelling in guitar-centric pieces while managing to keep the structure more tight and focused than before.

The band that put the jam into jamboree crack the five minute mark on seven of the ten tracks on You in Reverse, which is a boon for Built to Spill's action-packed jams and expansive tune sense. Similar to Wilco's A Ghost is Born, the jams appear loose and spontaneous yet with a largely well thought out structure. The epic, nine-minute opening track "Goin' Against Your Mind" is the best example: guitars swoop and cry, circling above the pounding beat and Martsch's vocal melody suits his moony insights. At one goose-bumping inducing moment the drums fade and lights dim as he sings "kid I saw a light / Floating high above the trees one night / Thought it was an alien / Turned out to be just God". It's bliss.

The ten tracks retain the BTS sporadic nature, but the solos are never indulgent, the tunes are a nice collection of front-porch melodies and Neil Young guitar jams. Where You in Reverse falters is in a slight lack of direction in the lengthy cuts and the melodies don't catch like they used to. Despite this the record marks at a return to the spirit that made 1996's Perfect From Now On great.

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