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Ancient Melodies of the Future
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|3. In Your Mind|
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|9. Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss|
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One of the most critically acclaimed and respected of alt-rock bands, Built To spill continues its assault on the mainstream with Ancient Melodies Of The Future. Led by influential indie hero Doug Martsch, the band's sixth album lays down a dense sonic pop that rockets Built To Spill into the future.
With a band like Built to Spill, the key to success is to chart a course through the future that mirrors the past. Built to Spill may be on a major label, but its linchpin, front man Doug Martsch, still writes all song parts himself and has a large hand in every album's production from start to finish. Martsch assembles the players--drummer Scott Plouf and bassist Brett Nelson--to take their parts in the studio and on tour, but he still holds all the musical cards. As a result, the Boise, Idaho-based trio sounds pretty much the same on Ancient Melodies of the Future as it did on 1997's Perfect from Now On and 1999's Keep It Like a Secret. That said, though, why change a winning formula? Martsch's mix of wry humor, Neil Young-influenced rock, and soaring indie-pop ballads has garnered him a Guided by Voices-like cult following that this album is in no danger of turning away. "In Your Mind" is the standout track, with Martsch's fitting assertion that "No one can tell me to listen / No one can tell me what's right / because nobody has my permission / and no one can see in your mind." The other tracks are tried and true BTS fare, bending guitar effects around straight-ahead rock ("Trimmed and Burning") or layering warm melodies atop Martsch's elliptical lyrics. Indie-rock fans looking for something wildly divergent or refreshingly different won't find either on Ancient Melodies, but those looking for a linear extension of BTS's past works should find a happy resistance to change in this latest release. --Jennifer Maerz
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Top Customer Reviews
In other words, BTS isn't doing anything here that they haven't done before. This isn't of course, a bad thing. AMOTF is a solid album with some fine songs. Doug Martsch keeps the guitar heroics to a minimum, and some fans might quibble with how much keyboards and faux-string sections dominate the slower songs, but with the exception of a few missteps ("Happiness" being the most grievous offender), this is a solid (if not earth-shattering) album.
If the thumping drums, backwards guitar skronk and catchy-as-all-get-out chorus of "Strange" don't make you smile uncontrollably, you're brain just ain't wired correctly. Doug once again tosses off lines so stupid that they're brilliant, as in "Yeah it's strange, but what's so strange about that?".
"Alarmed", with its loping beat, wah guitar, and descending strings is one of the most brilliantly miserable things BTS has done. Intimate and desperate, it sounds like Prom Night at the Rehab Clinic.
"Trimmed and Burning" reminds me of "I Would Hurt A Fly" from Perfect From Now On, but that could just be me. The most guitar-heavy song on the album, it manages to be both catchy and menacing at the same time.
"Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss" is a great little pop song that could have fit in nicely on The Normal Years.Read more ›
Getting to know this album has turned me into a giggly schoolgirl. You know how it is when the next song comes on and you go, "Oh, THIS song!" and you just want to jump up and down and scream with delight. This album almost compares to Mercury Rev's Deserter's Songs in that regard. I adore every song, my particular favorites being Strange, Alarmed, The Host (why doesn't anyone mention that one? It's so good) and The Weather (check out that ending...possibly the best ending of an album since that little chime in OK Computer?). Doug Martsch writes such cool lyrics, and he sings them in such a casual, offhand way, you barely catch it before he's on to the next line (see In Your Mind). Then there are certain lines that stand out and make you swoon with amazement. "Didn't know what I'm afraid of, I had to learn it from a dream. There's a light that never goes out, burning a hole inside of me." It's so hard to explain, there's just something about the way he delivers words that's so cool and powerful. I am obsessed.
I love this CD so much, I assumed it was the high point so far of their career, probably Built To Spill's best album yet. (I knew nothing about the band before buying the CD.) Imagine my surprise when I looked it up on Amazon and found everyone saying that it doesn't measure up to their usual standards. All I can say is, Built to Spill's "usual standards" must be phenomenal. I'm going out to buy another BTS album as soon as I possibly can. That is, on Friday. Friday can not come fast enough...
Most recent customer reviews
This is my first Built to Spill experience and I found this album to be fantastic. I've only read a few reviews just now but it seemed like there was a bit of disappointment? Read morePublished on June 14 2004 by Techthusiast
Doug Martsch and Built to Spill turn down the guitar heroics a notch. However, the songwriting and sonic pallete and even better than before. Read morePublished on April 29 2004 by Scott Fendley
i see that many reviewers like this band and this album. i am not one of them. i thought the songs all sounded the same. the songs were weak and unoriginal. Read morePublished on April 2 2003 by Daniel J. Hagerman
I have to say this might be my favorite BTS so far. BTS is growing up, just like Doug is growing up. This isn't early 20's treepeople any more. Read morePublished on June 4 2002
... that people review this after 1 or 2 listens. The melodies on this album are great - very distilled from normal BTS - but great. Read morePublished on May 21 2002
After a great run AMOTF comes as a big disappointment. Since I bought this when it was released it hardly ever hits my CD player. Read morePublished on April 27 2002 by Impossibilium
The latest installment in the BTS catalog make me think of..Hmm..well, the rest of the catalog. Now, this is a good thing. Nothing wrong with keeping a good thing going. Read morePublished on Dec 7 2001 by NK
This album is a dissapointment mostly based on the fact that is has been preened, plucked and prettified until there's not too much solid material left. Read morePublished on Dec 5 2001 by Sharmaine Allair
I was very let down when I first heard this disc. It certainly didn't meet my expectations. PFNO is near perfect for long-form BTS jams. Read morePublished on Dec 2 2001 by Jordan Parker