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The Normal Years

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Album Review

The Normal Years strings together Built to Spill's loose ends: outtakes from each of the band's first two albums, three independently released singles, and two tracks recorded for compilations. Given bandleader Doug Martsch's penchant for exquisite production and extensive arranging on his later albums, this mix-and-match release is certainly the least desirable full-length the band released. The sound is sparse, and Martsch is still learning the intricacies of his craft. But the innocence in songs like "Girl" and "Joyride" is an aural treat, and The Normal Years works as a good illustration of Built to Spill's humble beginnings.

Customer Reviews

far and away one of the best Built to Spill releases

its not highly produced, and the guitars won't take you off to the land of swoops and swirls that later Built to Spill albums would, but therein lies the magic. making music out of molehills- in its simplicity and rawness, we are exposed to the real Built to Spill, at its core. i much prefer this version of Car to the one on There's Nothing Wrong With Love, and the Daniel Johnston cover, Some Things Last a Long Time is a stand-out track- letting us in on some of the possible inner-workings/tastes of the Marsch mind. all around a rewarding listen.

One of the best

One of the least known/least praised, but none the less one of my favorites

BTS best

Been a while since I listened to BTS after seeing them live a few years ago, and being incredibly disappointed, thanks to them playing nothing but songs from their then brand new album, I don't even remember which one it was, but it wasn't fun at all, plus they dragged each song on for like 10 minutes, so they literally only played like 4 or 5 songs. Needless to say, after loving the band for many many years, and being unbelievably excited to see them, it sucked...

But this album is amazing, I mean holy crap, it is amazing, even if it's not really a normal full length and just b-sides and early versions, for some reason the imperfections, the innocence, and the raw sound of each song really accentuates what makes BTS so good in the first place.


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