Built to Spill
You in Reverse


3.5
great

Review

by thebhoy EMERITUS
March 12th, 2009 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A good, but flawed entry into the Built to Spill canon.

I am currently enrolled in a film course at the University I attend in my home town. We have watched a number of great films, some of which I have come to love as some of my favourites; but also a few films that, while not without their own merit, lack a certain staying power. Recently we watched an Indian film called “The World of Apu”, which I found to bare a striking resemblance to another film we had watched in the class, the Italian neo-realist film “The Bicycle Thieves” (the director of “Apu” stated “Thieves” as an influence). While “The World of Apu” had a similar aesthetic to “The Bicycle Thieves” it ultimately came off as a weaker film. The main reason was to do with the story, while “Thieves” stood as one of the saddest films I had ever seen, I really couldn’t care less about the titular protagonist of “Apu”. The venerable indie act Built to Spill’s latest release, “You in Reverse”, suffers from a similar fate as “The World of Apu”. It’s pretty good, but something is lacking that keeps it from being great.

The first thing that’s immediately noticeable to any Built to Spill fan is the change in production style. While the bands previous release “Ancient Melodies of the Future” suffered from an all too perfected metallic sheen production value, “You in Reverse” goes for a more raw sound. This is certainly a welcomed change to the bands sound, as another album of cleanly produced guitar rock would have just felt redundant. This production approach adds a certain dexterity to the middle section guitar freak-out one of the album highlights ‘Mess With Time’. Ditto with the opening riff of ‘Conventional Wisdom’, which generally rocks my proverbial socks off. However, ‘Conventional Wisdom’ also brings up the main problem with the album, and that is song length. Especially towards the back end of the album, the songs seem to go on longer then they really should. They seem to all end with some sort of jam session, as if lead man Doug Martsch wanted to fill out some time. It is a little disappointing coming from a songwriter as gifted as Martsch.

This isn’t to say that Martsch has necessarily lost his Midas touch. The layered and complex guitar work is still evident, especially in what is probably the album’s best track, the nearly nine minute epic opener, “Goin Against Your Mind”. Starting with a two minute intro the song moves into a signature Martsch vocal melody before fading into a noise section. The amps get pumped up and the guitars come crashing back in with more Martsch vocals, and finally ending with a great guitar riff. The aforementioned “Mess With Time” also features some excellent guitar work especially during the solo, and the album closer “The Wait” is up there as another great ending to a Built to Spill album. Ultimately though, too many tracks seem to float around without the same level of impact as the stronger cuts. “Saturday” gets good towards the end, but it doesn’t make up for the less then stellar opening two minutes. Next track, “Wherever You Go” suffers from its six minute run time as the jam session tacked onto the latter half of the song never really goes anywhere. Again these songs are by no means bad, but like I said with the film “The World of Apu”, there is that certain x-factor missing. An x-factor that Built to Spill have had such regular supply of in the past.

So where does “You in Reverse” stand upon close inspection" Well it should be regarded for what it is, a great record. While it isn’t without its flaws, the album has enough great material to make me want to listen to it again and again. Unfortunately, in the same way I unfairly compared “The World of Apu” to “The Bicycle Thieves”, many Built to Spill fans will compare “You in Reverse” to the rest of the band’s catalogue. In this regard, the album just doesn’t hold a candle to indie classics such as “Perfect From Now On” or “Keep It Like A Secret”. Both of those albums have that certain vibe and quality that makes them special. While “You In Reverse” alludes to this same vibe and quality at times, it fails to hit it fully on the head.



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user ratings (291)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
DaveyBoy EMERITUS (3)
Not a bad album, but an ultimately disappointing one as some great ideas contained within most track...



Comments:Add a Comment 
thebhoy
Emeritus
March 12th 2009


4463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

kind of a re-submit, but I didn't save my original so it's completely re-written. Which is good cause I wasn't overly satisfied with original review I had written.

SeaAnemone
March 12th 2009


21407 Comments


This is the only one of theirs I haven't gotten around to listening yet. I should, I'm just afraid it'll be a big letdown after their others so I'm avoiding it. Good review though.

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 12th 2009


4463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, I think if you go in expecting another Keep It Like A Secret or Perfect From Now On, you will be disappointed. But you should still listen to it cause it has some really good songs, particularly Goin' Against Your Mind, Traces, Mess With Time and The Wait.

SeaAnemone
March 12th 2009


21407 Comments


I have it downloaded... I'm sure I can find some time to at leats listen to those.

EStreetFan
March 13th 2009


89 Comments


You might want to edit the summary to say 'canon.' Otherwise good review

tom79
March 13th 2009


3672 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This was a good comback album for Built to Spill, and is a lot better than AMotF. It drags a bit in the middle but songs like Goin' Against Your Mind, Traces, and The Wait are some of the their best songs.

Digging: PUP - Morbid Stuff

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 13th 2009


4463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oops, thanks EStreet. Agreed Tom.

ClearTheLane
March 13th 2009


990 Comments


I think I only listened to the first 6 songs for some reason, but it's certainly not as great as the three classic albums they made in the 90s.

thebhoy
Emeritus
March 20th 2009


4463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I really can't stop listening to Mess With Time at the moment. Eff, it's the sunshine and approaching Spring.

Kashmir09
September 23rd 2009


772 Comments


This disc is supremely badass, definitely underrated is the impression I'm getting

Enotron
June 9th 2011


7695 Comments


traces is beautiful

ohfoxxxycole
November 3rd 2011


4352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

how can anyone prefer this to any other bts album

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
November 3rd 2011


56521 Comments


idk

Digging: Venom Prison - Samsara

CrownOfMagnets
October 2nd 2012


2334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The instrumental outro in Conventional Wisdom is epic man fuck

HitlerIsTheBest
October 2nd 2012


1574 Comments


worst BTS album. ancient melodies comes close.

ExcentrifugalForz
February 8th 2013


2124 Comments


This is a much better album than it gets credit for. It may not be the Spills best album but it does have some of their best songs.

foxxxythnksustnk
February 8th 2013


2132 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

no uh

CelestialDust
February 12th 2013


3159 Comments


I guess this is a good place to start with these guys, very catchy stuff. i dig

greencorn5
February 15th 2013


362 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is one of my favorite albums of all time by anyone, and I am a big BTS fan. I wish they would bring this kind of intensity to more of their songs. However, I'm ok if this was only an experimental album for them, job well done.

foxxxythnksustnk
February 15th 2013


2132 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

no uh



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