The long-awaited There Is No Enemy (Warner Bros. Reprise), Built To Spill's seventh studio album, was released on Oct. 6. Fidgeting like addicts for the last three years, fans of the Boise-based band have been jonesing for a new Built To Spill release since 2006's You In Reverse.
Comments and reviews across the Web suggest that if you're one of the devoted, There Is No Enemy is like Christmas in October. However, if you don't have the chorus from "Goin' Against Your Mind" tattooed across your forearm, this album isn't likely to turn you into a Built To Spill fan. Maybe that's true.
But maybe fan isn't the right word.
Built To Spill has always been ahead of its time and the music has always been intentional. Even so, There Is No Enemy is so damn grownup. So much so, that the album was slapped with a Parental Advisory warning, though the handful of fu**s sprinkled throughout are anything but gratuitous.
Martsch's voice, though still rife with his signature slides up to falsetto notes, also contains rich tones throughout. The instrumentation--including horns--rocks but with a sense of restraint, a less-is-more quality. In "Things Fall Apart," arguably one of the loveliest, most melancholy tracks on the album, dark lyrics--"Stay out of my nightmares / stay out of my dreams. / You're not even welcome in my memories"--seem to prevail, and yet, like a good rock song will, there's room for interpretation. It's as though Martsch began a canvas and then left pots of paint and clean brushes beside it for anyone who picks up the music to add his or her own color: the midnight blue of a broken heart, the pink blush of a blooming love, the gunmetal gray of regret. Whether songs like "Things Fall Apart" are heard as a lover's lament, an apology, a warning or something altogether different, listeners will come into and leave the album feeling not like fans, but more like participants.
Hear "Things Fall Apart" and more tunes from There Is No Enemy at myspace.com/builttospill.