Untethered Moon by Built to Spill
And now for one of my most favorite bands. Built to Spill is the band I’ve seen perform the most (I’ll be seeing them for a sixteenth time in February). And they’re one of my longest-loved bands as well, having first heard them shortly after I moved to Seattle in 1997. They were even featured on the very first Top 31, back in 2009, at #9 with their album There is no Enemy.
There were six years between that album and Untethered Moon, but it certainly doesn’t sound like it. This is a classic Built to Spill album, and lead singer / songwriter Doug Martsch is as good today as he has been for the bulk of his songwriting career. Unlike their Pacific Northwest counterpart, Modest Mouse, whose recent output sounds nothing like their earlier work, Martsch and company have consistently put out album after album, all filling generally the same space on the musical spectrum.
There are some great songs, and some duds, on this new album, but it holds my attention from start to finish. That can probably be tied to the strength of the opening song, “All Our Songs,” and the final song on the album, “When I’m Blind” — the two longest songs on the album, both featuring a great, high-speed climax that can only be defined as that Built to Spill Sound™.
The video above, for “Never be the Same,” is an odd video experience. It centers around a gathering to watch another video that came out earlier this year, for “Living Zoo,” also from Untethered Moon. (I suggest watching that video, too, to get the full picture.) It shows Martsch going absolutely ape shit for the actor in the video, complete with strange dialog and weird cuts that make no sense other than to simply demonstrate how strange and funny Martsch is.
If you’ve liked Built to Spill at any point in the last 20 years, you will like this album. Buy it.
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