Built To Spill

Doug Martsch is the man behind this band.  The group began as a simple indie band, then began expanding their sound to be more epic as the years went on.  I prefer the earlier stuff, but the latter is interesting for what it is, and it's what most of their real fans prefer.

See Doug Martsch, The Halo Benders

Information: Built To Spill
Suggested First Purchase: There's Nothing Wrong With Love

Ultimate Alternative Wavers (1993) -- Not as focused or good as upcoming stuff, and often not as zany as what I really like about Built To Spill (as best seen in The Normal Years and There's Nothing Wrong with Love), but still a great little album, especially "Nowhere Nothing Fuckup" and "Lie for a Lie." B

The Normal Years (1993) -- This collection of outtakes, etc. shows Built To Spill before they got all progressive rocky, and so these leaner, more fun, and more charming songs work better than the "mature" albums following There's Nothing Wrong With Love. B

There's Nothing Wrong With Love (1994) -- This album has short (for Built To Spill) and not-too-cute songs of love (etc.) which make for pleasant listening. "Cleo," the song from the point of view of Doug's baby being born, is probably the best on the album (the strongest pro-life song on the market). Other highlights include "In the Morning" and "Car." B

Perfect from Now On (1997) -- The best and worst thing about the album is the sprawl that has come to be part of Built To Spill's signature sound. It works great on the opening fear-of-the-Lord epic "Randy Described Eternity" and the beautiful "Velvet Waltz," while some of the rest of it fades into the background. B

Keep It Like a Secret (1999) -- This album is a sort of "brighter" and shorter version of Perfect from Now On (it was pretty dark and starry, with--of course--long songs) with more hits and misses, the best hit being "You Were Right" which quotes lyrics from a handful of oldies. B

Live (2000) -- Do we need a twenty minute version of "Cortez the Killer"? Probably not. Do we need another twenty minute version song on the same album, of "Broken Chairs"? Certainly not. This is one of those "let's show how cool we play live" albums, which some folks might dig, but I certainly don't. The standout here is the live version of The Halo Benders' "Virginia Reel Around the Fountain." Everything sounds good, but it's unfortunate that BTS chose this all-out arena rock route instead of at least occasionally returning to their more cutesy roots. D

Ancient Melodies of the Future (2001) -- Their best recording since There's Nothing Wrong With Love, with songs that are simply good to listen to. Nothing superspecial, but nothing wrong at all. B

You In Reverse (2006) -- Like the last three albums, this one is another epic with some good songs and some forgettable ones.  The good ones are "Goin' Against Your Mind" and "Conventional Wisdom." B

Copyright (c) Jul 2000 - Apr 2006 by Rusty Likes Music