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Ancient Melodies of the Future

3.9 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 47.99
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 10 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros
  • ASIN: B00005LK6L
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #62,268 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Strange
2. The Host
3. In Your Mind
4. Alarmed
5. Trimmed and Burning
6. Happiness
7. Don't Try
8. You Are
9. Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
10. The Weather

Product Description

Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
On Ancient Melodies of the Future, Built To Spill treads through pretty much the same territory that they did on Keep It Like A Secret. Like that album, AMOTF strikes a balance between the big dumb (in a good way) pop hooks of their earlier stuff, and the more meandering (and somber) Perfect From Now On.

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.
The Highlights:
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Wowee zowee! This was my first Built to Spill album. If this is a letdown, as everyone else seems to think, then their other stuff must be AMAZING. Since I bought this album it's been my most-frequently-played album. At the first listen, it was "pretty good", but then I played it again, and again, and realized, "Wow, this is REALLY good."

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...
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Format: Audio CD
built to spill was on a run perhaps unparalleled in the indy rock community of a string of albums that were all just heavyweights. keep it like a secret, though it still had the bombastic intimacy that perfectly describes built to spill, it was the first album that had a couple clunkers, but it was still a 9 out of 10. i think ancient melodies will go down as the album that built to spill lost their charm. the first half is very engaging and has its build which is one of the most beautiful things you can expect from a BTS release. but the second half is just toss-offs. happiness, you are and fly around take away all the glory from the album and by the time you get to the weather, the air is out of the once full balloon. plus everything from the title of the album to the cover and packaging is very plain and uncreative. built to spill semms very content which is great for them as people, but being content has never produced good art. the album is definitely not bad, compared to other bands, it's an extremely worthy purchase. but unless something tragic happens to martsch by next album, i predict it will be even more watered down and they may even end up with a hit song and then forgotten by everyone except the loyalists who still have to stand because randy described eternity is playing and they are physically moved too much to sit still.
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By A Customer on July 19 2001
Format: Audio CD
the new bts is, i think, the "least good" of all their cds. i say "least good" not to be evasive or awkward, but simply to grant that while i don't think it's bts' best effort, it is still a good record, better than most music out there. still, if i hadn't heard bts before, this probably would not make me a rabid fan. but i guess in order to make a statement like that, i have to establish a frame of reference. up to this point, i think the two best records (i won't say which is better because they are so different) have been there's nothing wrong with love and perfect from now on. the least-good being ultimate alternative wavers. the problem with this album is that it is remarkably unremarkable. there's almost nothing special about this album. songwise, it's closer to perfect from now on than others, as all the songs are slow and melodic. but it lacks the booming guitar and musical variations that made pfno such a brialliant record. as another review said earlier, you know what the song will sound like within thirty seconds. the album's highlights, i think, are "alarmed," "trimmed and burning," "you are" and "the weather." the weather is an a-typical bts song, a more straightforward love song than they've done since the normal years. it's a beautiful song, and really savest the record from mediocrity. mostly, this album is good, but it tastes watered down, like there's something missing, something diluted about the sound. certainly you can sense what is behind it, and built to spill is still a great band. so i appreciate it because it's bts and even average bts is still really good. i think their own line from the album sums it up: "as long as it's talking with you, talk of the weather will do."
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