Built To Spill: You In Reverse (2006)

While these days it doesn't seem Built to Spill get as much credit for their role in building up the 90s indie rock scene as, say, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Guided by Voices, their immense contributions can't be denied.  At least as much as YLT's Ira Kaplan, BTS's Doug Martsch blew up any suggestion that punk rock killed long and wonky guitar solos and creative fretwork (though Television's "Marquee Moon" clearly belied that myth); while Martsch can write a pithy indie rock tune with the best of 'em, the band is often at their best when they stretch out, like a noisy, boundary-pushing jam band.  (Correspondingly, much of their work translates better to the stage than in the studio.)

While the band's earlier work is perhaps better known, with some truly tremendous songs ("Distopian Dream Girl" off 1994's There's Nothing Wrong With Love is easily my favorite song of theirs), I'm partial to this, their 6th long-player, which I've always found to be a more consistent work peppered with fascinating stand-alone tracks.

The highlight for me is opener "Goin' Against Your Mind," which opens with a simple two-chord guitar vamp reminiscent of the early Feelies before launching into some extended, terrific guitar jams, yet nonetheless remains marvelously catchy and compelling through its nearly nine-minute duration. It's post-punk indie rock for guitar worshippers, truly amazing stuff.

"Traces" is darkly moody yet similarly catchy; "Liar" is a mellower track that verges on pop; and "Conventional Wisdom" perhaps best conveys Martsch's unique ability to conjure magically fresh guitar riffs.  Also cool is "Mess With Time," which starts of like jagged punk rock mashed up with the Dead's "Spanish Jam" before switching into a crooked ska beat, kinda like Camper Van Beethoven on overdrive.  Throughout, the album ably balances a driving, off-kilter post-90s indie rock sound with unabashed musical chops.

Incidentally, maybe a year or so ago when BTS started trending in some of the online music sites, I was totally psyched that a Built to Spill revival appeared to be underway; but apparently this is some sort of South Korean boy band?  Maybe?

Anyway, here's a live "Goin' Against Your Mind":
Here's the video for "Conventional Wisdom":
...and a live "Traces":