Built to Spill You In Reverse

Built To Spill are one of the last great bands of the ’90s indie rock/college scene yet to throw in the towel. Unlike contemporaries Sebadoh, Pavement and most recently, Guided By Voices, Doug Martsch, Bretts Nelson and Netson, Scott Plouf and Jim Roth have remarkably survived not only the test of time, but also the ongoing threat of major label expulsion. While there’s no denying they aren’t as prolific as they once were, the band have enjoyed a career filled with strongly acclaimed albums, one after another. 2001’s Ancient Melodies of the Future marked a slight decline in quality, and unfortunately, You In Reverse doesn’t revisit the brilliance of albums two through four either. That’s not to say BTS should reach for that towel; this album marks a minor breakthrough, as the band have rejected the studio wizardry and grandeur atmospherics that filled their best work, and gone back to basics with loose structures and an untreated lustre. The changes are hardly what you’d consider drastic, as their tendency to noodle away with the guitar solo and push the definition of "epic” all remain in tact, yet a good portion of the album feels a little unfocused and hurried. The album does kick off with a nice surprise though in the spirited "Goin’ Against Your Mind,” which may surpass the eight-minute mark, but its rollicking pace is a welcome tempo setter. It’s not the return to form we were all hoping for, but You In Reverse does what it needs to prove Built To Spill still have the goods to keep fans satisfied. (Warner)