Built to Spill has been in the forefront of the indie music scene for a little under 30 years now. They were one of the first bands that I latched onto when I started to listen to more alternative music, and being able to start with them has let me appreciate Martsch’s musical writing talents to the fullest. I love Built to Spill and Doug Martsch, but these latest singles for their new album are underwhelming.
Built to Spill is on tour in the United States right now (I went to their concert at Cat’s Cradle a few months ago), and they are using it as a preview to their new album coming out this Fall. Martsch is working with Melanie Radford (bassist from Boise, Idaho) and Teresa Esquerra (drummer of Prism Bitch) for this new project.
The most recent song, “Fool’s Gold”, is alright. None of these songs are bad or not exciting to listen to, but they all leave me wanting a bit more. In “Fool’s Gold” specifically, I wish the opening wasn’t so long and the instruments were a bit more distinct from the classic Built to Spill sounds.
I found “Understood” to be the strongest track that has been released so far. The guitar riffs and drum beats are solid and definitely starts with a more distinct sound than the other two tracks. I enjoyed the lyrics in this song the most because they explore the unknowability of understanding a concept or person.
In “Gonna Lose”, I found too many similarities to the Built to Spill classic track “Goin’ Against Your Mind”. “Gonna Lose” is a whole 6 minutes shorter, which makes me want a bit more from it so it can be different enough to make a solid impact on my ears.
These songs are still fun to listen to. I like hearing them every now and again, but my issue with them is they don’t try to do anything new with Built to Spill’s sounds. It’s extremely difficult for artists to constantly reinvent their art, but these past couple of albums for Built to Spill haven’t really led to anything new and exciting.
I will keep listening to the older wonders of Built to Spill and keep, and an ear to the ground for anything they make, but I truly hope Doug Martsch and company can explore the possibility of their musical talents with more gusto in the future.