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Perfect from Now On

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Album Review

Not many groups would take a major-label contract as a cue to put out an album where the shortest song is still a radio-unfriendly five minutes in length. For that listeners can thank their stars that Built to Spill isn't like many groups and Doug Martsch not like many artists. Perfect from Now On manages the amazing trick of being the band's best album to this point, Martsch and company using the opportunities for larger budgets and distribution to create an album at once inspiring and quietly emotional, not the easiest combination to pull off. With drummer Scott Plouf and bassist Brett Nelson as the other core performers, plus second guitarist Brett Netson and cellist John McMahon as key guests, the result is astounding all around. The length of the songs allows the band to create uniquely post-everything mantras, blending psych trances and drones, post-punk airiness and flow, and Martsch's affecting, tender singing and lyrics into a whole. Martsch's high tones and the guitar passion here helped fuel further comparisons to Neil Young — to pick out one moment, consider the closing minutes of "I Would Hurt a Fly," feedback peeling out over the rhythm and strings — but the Boise musician is his own man through and through. Selecting standout moments from such a solid disc almost defeats the purpose, but many examples still deserve further notice. "Stop the Show" builds to a dramatic, but not in the least bit hammy, shift from a roaring wash to a quick, clipped pace; Martsch's vocals and further sudden tempo switches are the icing on the cake. "Velvet Waltz" indeed plays at that musical pace, McMahon's playing and Martsch's heartbreaking, lovely lyrics and singing the core of a incredible song. "Untrustable/Part 2 (About Someone Else)" concludes a simply fantastic record.

Biography

Formed: 1992 in Boise, ID

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Built to Spill were one of the most popular indie rock acts of the '90s, finding the middle ground between postmodern, Pavement-style pop and the loose, spacious jamming of Neil Young. From the outset, the band was a vehicle for singer/songwriter/guitarist Doug Martsch, who revived the concept of the indie guitar hero just as Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis -- another important influence -- was beginning to fade from the limelight. On record, Martsch the arranger crafted intricate, artfully knotted tangles...
Full Bio
Perfect from Now On, Built to Spill
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