The huge grunge explosion of the early 1990’s spawned so many bands that some of them often get lost in the shuffle. Major labels were out there signing seemingly everyone with a distorted guitar and some angry vocals. Unfortunately many of these bands were put together to hastily and fizzled out before they even got started. Others took their time developing their sound and continue releasing trend setting music today. One of my favorites that gets forgotten about way too much is Built To Spill.
The band was originally formed back in 1992 by Doug Martsch in Boise, Idaho. The Northwest scene was blowing up at the time and Built To Spill was a large part of that. Major influences of their sound were bands like Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, and Neil Young. In 1995 Warner Bros. Records stepped in and signed Built To Spill to a major label deal. Unlike many record contracts of the time Built To Spill was able to retain creative control for future records. This worked out for both parties and resulted in 8 studio albums.
The latest record Unearthed Moon was released last week digitally as well as on Cd and vinyl. The 10 track record sounds as fresh as ever with the signature Built To Spill sound. The opener “All Our Songs” is a fast paced track led by some impressive guitar playing and the laid back and slightly haunting vocal style of Martsch. It is also an over 6 minute epic start. Lead single “Living Zoo” is the most straight ahead rock track that could run on mainstream stations. The hard/soft dynamic is strong here bringing back some great memories of classic 90’s sounds. “On The Way” is a more relaxed song with a playfully strummed guitar repeating a melody that will burrow its way deep in your brain. There is a dark vein that runs through “C.R.E.B.” with some innovative guitar effects and some somewhat eerie vocal harmonies. A real show of beauty is featured on “Horizon To Cliff” as the lyrical story is the feature with pretty guitar licks behind it. Great songwriting. On “So” an ethereal sonic wall is built with distorted guitars playing a sweet riff with an almost Sonic Youth feel. Overall this is a phenomenal album that has been long overdue since BTS’ 2009 There IS No Enemy. We are very happy that Built To Spill is back with a vengeance. We will be catching them live at the Northside Festival in Brooklyn in June. Take a listen and check out other tour dates at: http://www.builttospill.com/