Review by Alfredo Duarte
Assigned by Jonathan Hopkins
Prior to writing this review, i only knew Built to Spill by name. Never actually heard anything by them, but i read some people mentioning BTS as an influential and important band for the indie pop groups that came later. The cover art looked like something good was gonna come out and it was indeed, there’s always more room for 90’s power pop in my heart (oh excuse the cornyness)! I love Jellyfish, Posies, etc.
Problem: this album came out in 1999, and in 1999 for some reason all rock dudes were playing midtempo grooves or jump music. So this is midtempo power pop! See, when it comes to garage pop or power pop, i think that when you have a nice melody is more exciting if you play it fast, at least kind of fast. I remember at a show i saw a patch with The Flash playing drums with someone pointing a gun at his head and saying “PLAY FAST OR DIE!”. How cool is that? Best drummer ever!
Where was I? Oh yeah, so the tunes that sound more exciting to me are the faster ones, like “Sidewalk” wich kicks ass, or the ones who display some intense emotion despite being slow, like “You were right”, my favorite track here, gotta love those clichéd phrases and the whiny chorus. The clichés make it sound like everything is tongue in cheek but the overall mood is so depressing i guess no, is not a joke, he’s just dressing it as a joke but he kind of, wants to die and shit.
First song is also nice, the singles for some reason did not impress me much. “Center of the Universe” has an annoying guitar riff, stop doing that guitar players! “Carry The Zero” is cool but way too fucking long with not much happening in between. OK, there’s some changes but waaaayyyyy subtle for my patience. How about playing it faster? FASTER!
Back to the first song “The Plan”, sweet album opener and it has a ‘Sonic Youth’ dissonant noise rock section wich makes you hope the whole album has moments like this, but sadly nope, that’s the only one.
Overall a pretty solid CD, I am definitely going back to this or other item inside the discography of The Built To Spills for some more midtempo power pop enjoyment.