Built to Spill: Untethered Moon (Warner Bros.) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame ImpalaBuilt to Spill

Untethered Moon

Warner Bros.

Apr 21, 2015 Issue #53 - April/May 2015 - Tame Impala Bookmark and Share

With seven albums already under their belt, Built to Spill know their strengths and have no desire to fuck up a formula that works.

Maybe it is the moon-referencing title, but I could not help but think of the classic Built to Spill song, “Randy Described Eternity,” from Perfect From Now On, when listening to Untethered Moon. That song is essentially a stoner’s philosophical answer to “what does eternity feel like?” and compares infinity to a metal sphere 10 times the size of Jupiter being worn down by a feather stroke once every millennium. The visual is stunning, but with 20 years between Perfect From Now On and Untethered Moon, it feels close to the time scale Built to Spill is working on. In other words, not much has changed, but nothing needed to change to begin with.

Normally I wouldn’t appreciate a band that essentially never evolves, never passes through phases. A band that lacks a narrative arc. Yet I love that Built to Spill remains unchanged 20-something years into their existence. There is no diminishing quality, no altered voices, no experiments with structure or delivery. Nobody told them guitar solos went out of style, or that they need to experiment with uncommon time signatures and soundscapes. There should always be one good band that lives perpetually in the grungy pop ‘90s, and Built to Spill do it wonderfully.

There is a Zen-like quality to the lyrics here, especially on “Horizon to Cliff,” which says, “High above the things that really matter/There’s no surprise/Nothing’s what it seems out on the rise.” The song ends on an abrupt fade-out, emphasizing a potential for endless loops of choruses. A fitting sonic metaphor for an album whose title evokes an eternity of stillness, destined to echo throughout the cosmos untethered by rational physics. (www.builttospill.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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