Built to Spill
There Is No Enemy (Warner Bros.)
Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Dec. 25, 2009
Built to SpillThere Is No Enemy (Warner Bros.)
The nexus between Built to Spill's emotive early years and the more spacious guitar constructions of its post-millennium output traces back to a rapturous 20-minute re-creation of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" on 2000's Live. With seventh LP There Is No Enemy, leader Doug Martsch fully embraces Young's mid-1970s songwriter mold – the songs are a bit slower, with a reflective urgency and pop polish that garners strength in every repeat listen – and on that ground alone the album succeeds. Opener "Aisle 13" and the expletive-laced "Pat" conjure the precise indie rock of 1997 watermark Perfect From Now On, but are offset by the desolate "Oh Yeah," featuring Butthole Surfers guitarist Paul Leary, and the slow burn of "Nowhere Lullaby." Even then, No Enemy excels most in the country swoon of "Hindsight" and the Southwestern, mariachi-horn-accented "Tomorrow," a promising start into uncharted territory for Built to Spill's next decade.