After creating three of the most critically acclaimed albums of the '90s, alternative rock's Built To Spill kicks off the millennium by surprising its fans with a long-awaited live album. The band's fifth album, Live brings together Built to Spill's best performances recorded during touring in 1999 for Keep It Like A Secret. From New York City to Denver to Seattle, Built To Spill leader Doug Martsch proves why he is one of the most influential, independent-minded musicians in rock.
While additional guitarists Brett Nelson of Caustic Resin and Jim Roth of the Delusions pop up in a couple of tracks on Built to Spill's Live
, the person most responsible for the extra-crispy sound is Phil Eck. He produced the Idaho-based trio's last two albums, the critically acclaimed Keep It Like a Secret
and Perfect from Now On
, and here he mans the soundboard to make sure the band's dynamic combination of the intimate and the explosive comes through just right. Live
is one of the shinier sounding in-concert documents in recent memory, sounding (at times) more like a polished studio project rather than a collection of live cuts. This works in the group's favor, especially during psychedelic moments such as "I Would Hurt a Fly." Live
won't stem the fanatical bootlegging and tape trading among devout fans, but it's a fine sonic souvenir of alt-rock's quirkiest power-pop-'n'-jam band. --Jason Josephes