Built To Spill – There Is No Enemy Built To Spill – There Is No Enemy

Built To Spill - There Is No Enemy

Does music have to produce hits to be considered great? Is composition just based around what musician the software Blue Platinum dictates as most profitable? Legendary influences such as Buddy Holly, and Rock and Roll superstars such as The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin have yet to win a Grammy. It seems pop culture has a funny way of deciding music’s place in society. Built to Spill is one of those bands that has achieved little to no recognition, but still deserves to be downloaded into your computer-based record collection.
The band began their career in the mid 90’s as part of the growing Northwestern music scene. An underground scene that can be described as mellow grunge with a stimulating melodic sound. They have no eminent hits and are seldom overplayed on the radio, but their music is worth the 15-year contract with Warner Music that they still hold. It is financially responsible to keep bands like Built to Spill on, because of their consistently steady fan base and enraptured audiences. Surprisingly according to the mastermind behind the group, Doug Martsch, for how corporatized Warner Brothers is, they have provided the band with lenient creative restraints and very liberal deadlines. Since the contract was executed in 1994, Built to Spill has been for the most part able to maintain their influential lo-fi style with few exceptions and compromises.
The new release of their seventh album, There Is No Enemy is nothing out of the ordinary but is nonetheless enticing. Built to Spill mixes a perfect musical recipe to hear while you are contemplating life for those ten minutes on the way to work. Doug Martsch along with fellow band mates, Brett Nelson (bass), Scott Plouf (drums) Jim Roth (guitar), and Brett Netson (guitar) create a unique collaboration that focuses on guitar solos, rifts and heavy leads classic to 90’s rock. The reason why There is No Enemy doesn’t experiment with a different style that is more contemporary is not said, but who cares. Built to Spill plays in a guitar-style that is greatly missed, instrumental emphasis gives added passion between lyrical stanzas.
The songwriting of the album lends to interpreted meaning. Like much of Built to Spill’s albums, Doug Martsch is notorious for leaving his lyrics open ended. In the band’s bio it is written that, “Doug simply doesn’t wish to disrupt any meaning someone else has found.” In the song, “Life’s a Dream,” which is by far the best song on There is No Enemy, Martsch sings, “Waste your life/ but you don’t know what it’s worth.” The song is comprised of a mass quantity of small phrases with strong reflective qualities. While most musicians construct songs on self-analysis, Built to Spill makes you think of the world at large. The experience is almost transcendental; the calming resonance shouldn’t be mistaken for simplicity, but supports the mind to seek a more complex train of thought within the lyrics. The only song on the album that even comes close to being catchy and radio friendly is the early released single, “Hindsight,” but maybe that just isn’t Built to Spill’s path. Doug Martsch did say, “for the most part, I like where we’ve been and where we’re going.”

Track Listing:
1. Aisle 13
2. Hindsight
3. Nowhere Lullaby
4. Good Ol’ Boredom
5. Life’s A Dream
6. Oh Yeah
7. Pat
8. Done
9. Planting Seeds
10. Things Fall Apart
11. Tomorrow

Built To Spill - There Is No Enemy, reviewed by Bootsie on 2010-01-05T14:43:38-08:00 rating 3.6 out of 5

2 Responses about “Built To Spill – There Is No Enemy”

  • jammers says:

    I agree totally with this review. You can really tell the reviewer did his/her homework and didn’t just listen to 1 or 2 songs off the album and make an assumption. Great review and I look forward to reading more.

  • rowe says:

    “a perfect musical recipe to hear while you are contemplating life for those ten minutes on the way to work”…great line!