Photo Courtesy of www.BuiltToSpill.com
After three years, â€œBuilt to Spillâ€ returns with their seventh album, â€œThere is no Enemy,â€ the bandâ€™s most balanced work in years.
Frontman Doug Martsch delivers his soft fleeting melodies and eccentric driven guitar solos typical of a, â€œBuilt to Spill,â€ album.
After 17 years of making dreamy indie-rock music, fans again wonâ€™t be disappointed. Although the bandâ€™s latest album doesnâ€™t have the strong sense of urgency from their last effort, â€œYou in Reverse,â€ the new album is more consistent and restrained, featuring the bandâ€™s obligatory themes of loss, boredom and dreams.
On the albumâ€™s opener â€œAisle 13,â€ Martsch sings, â€œNo one knows cause no one wants to know what they might find. No one sees cause no one wants to see whatâ€™s in their mind.â€
Martsch himself is never too telling of whatâ€™s in his mind, as most songs on the new album dance happily around dark themes with the bouncy rhythm of the guitar and fleeting vocals. The singer has stated that his songs have no personal meaning, but are universal from the suggestive tones. Either way, itâ€™s engaging.
Martsch manages to create an uplifting overtone to lyrics. Listeners can almost see his sneering grin on â€œThings Fall Apartâ€ as he sings, â€œStay out of my nightmares, stay out of my dreams. Youâ€™re not even welcome in my memories. Things are alright and I want what Iâ€™ve got.â€
On the song â€œGood Olâ€™ Boredom,â€ monotony serves as an escape. â€œWhen nothing hurts and no oneâ€™s dying, most of my dreams have come true.â€
While Martsch would rather spend the latter part of his day in a dream, he canâ€™t seem to ignore the detachment people have with their own emotions â€” a recurring theme for the band.
But then thereâ€™s the shockingly personal â€œPat.â€ With most of the songs clocking longer than five minutes, â€œPatâ€ is an explosive two-and-a-half minute blast of angst mourning the loss of a friend. The songâ€™s lyrics feature haunting imagery as Martsch sings, â€œJust sitting by your bed and talking to your head. And hearing what you said as if youâ€™d never left.â€ The closing lines of â€œPatâ€ sends chills down the listenerâ€™s back, as Martsch gives the impression that perhaps Pat had made some mistakes, but all was forgiven in his death.
Itâ€™s quite possible that â€œBuilt to Spillâ€ has created a good album, but not a spectacular one. The songsâ€™ restraint and consistency are the albumâ€™s strengths, but also its weaknesses.
If only more of the songs had the energetic angst of â€œPat,â€ the impact of some of the albumâ€™s darker themes would be more affecting. However, Martschâ€™s control and fluidity of his songs give the album high re-playability and a rightful place in the â€œBuilt to Spillâ€ catalogue.