Built to Spill – There’s Nothing Wrong with Love

May 13th, 2010 by WLOY Staff

Built to Spill, the indie-rock band hailing from Boise, Idaho, has one of the deepest and most accomplished discographies you can find in the genre. Yes, I said it.

The name Doug Martsch may not conjure the same thoughts that a mention of Elliott Smith does, and someone bringing up a song from Keep it Like a Secret may be less common than someone mentioning a song from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. That being said, this band is definitely a classic in their genre. The successive albums Keep it Like a Secret, which contains a laid-back summer twang, and Perfect From Now On, Martsch ventures a few tiny steps into progressive territory, are absolute masterpieces. But I digress… I’m here to explain the beauty of the prelude to these, There’s Nothing Wrong With Love.

Doug Martsch, the vocalist and only enduring member of Built to Spill, is obviously the main attraction of the band. His way of spinning words is especially pertinent on a few songs here. The pair of songs coming in at track 3 & 4 are examples of Martsch’s unique songwriting/vocal combination. While the whole album has a sort of dreamy feel to it, “Big Dipper” is the perfect example of this. The lyrics are borderline juvenile, but every verse is a different memory from a guy who isn’t in the best place. Then comes “Car,” one of my all-time favorite songs. I could probably point out every line here in some way or another, but this review is boring enough already. It starts off with Martsch feebly singing,

“You get the car, I”ll get the night off

You”ll get the chance to take the world apart and figure out how it works,

Don”t let me know what you find out.”

The track proceeds to climax with Martsch belting out “I want to see movies of my dreams,” with an amount of emotion in his voice that is so uncommon for his usually frail and almost lifeless lines. Basically, this track is a must-hear. Another particular standout is the brief and beautiful “Twin Falls,” where Martsch describes his hometown and how he escaped. “Stab” provides a very stable ending for the album. While it isn’t the most spectacular closer ever written, it’s another reminder for how consistent this album is.

While there are no doubt a few highlights, TNWWL has one overwhelming strength, a lack of filler. This is what I consider the main criteria between a 3.5 and a 4. Every song on the album is perfectly listenable, and you will probably find yourself switching favorite songs after enough listens. The mood is very static throughout the album- very dreamy, reminiscent, and slightly melancholic. Unfortunately, this lack of variety is also the album’s biggest downfall. Other than “Car,” there is definitely a lack of standout tracks that can be listened to over and over again.

I would describe TNWWL as the perfect representation of Built to Spill. While it isn’t their most impressive output by any means, it focuses on things like consistency and atmosphere to create a great record. I wouldn’t recommend this for a first-time Built to Spill listen, but it is a must hear for any fan of the indie-rock genre.

Recommended Tracks:



Big Dipper

Twin Falls

Overall Grade: 86% B+

Download on Built To Spill - There's Nothing Wrong With Love

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