Built to Spill lives on, which should come as no surprise.
The Idaho-spawned act outpaced most of its early 1990s indie-rock contemporaries behind a timeless sound centered on frontman Doug
Martsch’s tattered guitar heroism, reminiscent of Neil Young on a J. Mascis kick. And now, after five-piece years, Built to Spill has returned to
a trio with drummer Teresa Cruces and bassist Melanie Radford for recent tours, including the current ride.
“We weren’t really making enough money to support six people, with our sound engineer being part of our money split,” Martsch said in a recent interview with The Journal of Providence. “Being three people again makes a big difference, and it’s also fulfilling artistically. It’s fun to do that. …Actually, I really enjoy the pressure it puts on me as a guitarist.
“Gonna Lose”, the title track from the band’s ninth studio album, When the wind forgets your nameis an unusually tense guitar ditty with this admission from Martsch: “I’ve come to realize that time is all wrong/The answers materialize and then they’re gone/They were there, but the ones like that disappear/And they don’t not come back.”
Elsewhere, the more spacious “Spiderweb” harkens back to Built to Spill’s heyday in the late 90s, merging the psyche-tinged guitar drives of 1997’s Perfect from now on with the sleeker, hook-laden elements of the 1999s Keep it like a secret. Perhaps best of all is “Understood,” another excursion in Martsch’s long search for clarity, made all the more poignant by the 52-year-old’s modest moan of vocals and soaring guitars: “There’s no way to figure it out / Life just figured out.
The current tour draws songs from all eras of the band’s 30-year history, which is a variation on a theme that time cannot contain.
Built to Spill plays at the Woodward Theater at 7 p.m. on August 22. Doors open at 6 p.m. No COVID-19 protocols are in place for the event. Information: woodwardtheatre.com.
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