Release the Sounds: 'There is No Enemy,' Built to Spill

Sure, maybe it's a little naive to talk about the release of an album that's already been linked, streamed and downloaded since the beginning of the month, but for the sake of staying true to Built to Spill's '90s origins (you know, back when album release dates still mattered) we have no problem spotlighting their latest album, There is No Enemy, officially in stores today on Warner Bros. Records.

In fact, you can tell that the band themselves are re-examining their own past circa '97 with much of the work done on this album; three years in the making. Borrowing brush strokes from their landmark albums Perfect From Now On and Keep It Like a Secret, this iconic indie rock outfit has bent and stretched the parameters of  their layered guitar sound as well as the nasally howl of  front man Doug Martsch with a sage-like use of restraint and explosion on tracks like “Oh Yeah” and “Good Ol' Boredom”. Not to mention the catchy guitar delays of album opener “Aisle 13”.

Leading his band mates Scott Plouf (drums), Jim Roth (guitar), Brett
Nelson (bass) and Brett Netson (guitar) down a twisted trail of
territory old and new, Martsch's labored over every delicately placed
lyric and guitar tone. Even the not-so delicate ones. The album's most
fiery track, simply titled “Pat” (an obvious nod to Pat Brown, a
co-founder of Martsch's previous band, Tree People, who committed
suicide in 1999) is a classic tribute to Gen-X aggression that would
have been a hit in the mosh pits during the Clinton years–and will
probably do just as well today.

As is customary with many BTS
releases, notes of multi-instrumentalist presence bring a refreshing
stab of brilliance to the album's atmospheric moments. Note the
squealing trumpet that slices through the starry guitar-driven sprawl
of “Things Fall Apart”. The album ends with a look to the future on the
song “Tomorrow,” as Martsch's lilting “la la la” sends us off with the
hope of many inspiring days (and Built to Spill albums) to come.

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