Built To Spill are back, and I think we can all be pretty pleased about that. Untethered Moon is their eighth studio album. Frontman and American indie guitar God, Doug Martsch produced the album with Sam Coombes of Quasi, who also plays on the album. Along with regular members Brett Netson and Jim Roth, the band have a new rhythm section, drummer Steve Gere and bassist Jason Albertini.
LP £17.49 ATPRLP56
LP on ATP Recordings.
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- Untethered Moon by Built To Spill
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Withering indie rock, how I love thee; how I know 'Half Smiles of the Decomposed' shouldn't be my favourite Guided by Voices album but slouch into it like Robert Pollard before a blissful disco nap; how I totally shouldn't think Stephen Malkmus' best songwriting comes on 'Brighten the Corners', but totally do. And how I know I'm wrong to think Sleater-Kinney are in their prime, right now. On and on and on: add Built to Spill to the list of indie rockers I love in the anti of their prime.
'Untethered Moon' is one of those throughly grim late-career albums an indie rock band tends to start making on impending middle age or in the thralls of mortality. Like footballers retiring, there's an acceleration age for what's considered "old" when you have guitars, and these Built to Spill songs squirm with Doug Martsch's anxiety: lyrics like "I don't know how to never fall apart" writhe around chunky, immovable chord sequences while riffs grunge their way to death. Melodies are only introduced after long, listless intros of guitar interplay as on "Living Zoo", and the band invoke Grateful Dead as much as is required: 'American Beauty' meets 'Perfect From Now On' on the record's third, acoustically bumbling track.
And god, don't I love it: I'm even into the final track, which toys with indelible guitar hooks and a real melodic hook before delving into seven-odd minutes of the worst guitar solo we've got going. News of 'Untethered Moon' first came on a site called JamBands.com, and isn't that a fitting obituary for this record: reaching into middle age, trying to play guitar even harder in the face of it, Built to Spill have made one of their best records.
8/10 Joel Customer review, 26th October 2015
Built to Spill's 2015 release, Untethered Moon is significantly better than an album released by Built to Spill in 2015 logically should be. They've been at it for over 20 years now, and by now, theoretically should be a band that sounds like they've given up, are easing into retirement with mediocre releases and just slowly fading into obscurity without anyone really caring. But not Built to Spill. This album sounds great! While it's not on the same level as their 3 album run of perfect releases of There's Nothing Wrong With Love, Perfect From Now On and Keep It Like a Secret, its still definitely worth the listen. Indie Rock is gonna be okay if every band ages as gracefully as Built to Spill have.
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