Thursday, April 27, 2006
BUILT TO SPILL | You in Reverse | Warner Brothers
It’s been a while since Built to Spill has released any new material. Following 2001’s Ancient Melodies of the Future, Built to Spill’s driving force, the perennially underrated songwriter and guitarist Doug Martsch, recorded a solo CD titled Now You Know, a slide guitar album that combined old school blues with his band’s signature quirky guitar rock sound.
With You in Reverse, Martsch and his band return with gusto. The album begins with the epic, almost-nine-minute long “Goin’ Against Your Mind,” which takes the listener through all sorts of impressive guitar rock—from fast paced Feelies-sounding jangly pop to Sonic Youth-inspired squalls of distortion. It’s the sort of opener that makes you immediately glad you threw down the 15 bucks to purchase the CD.
You in Reverse has a number of well constructed midtempo songs like “Traces” and “Saturday,” but the album’s standouts are the longer, more rocking tracks where Martsch is able to dig deep into a seemingly endless bag of nifty riffs and solos. “Gone” goes from stabbing Neil Young-ish soloing to an almost ambient organ fueled ending, while “Mess With Time” starts with a monstrous punk metal riff but changes to a chugging ska-like number midway.
Closing with the aptly named “The Wait,” You in Reverse proves that the five-year period between Built to Spill records was well worth it. —(ST)
HARRY NILSSON | Everybody’s Talkin’: The Very Best of Harry Nilsson | RCA/Legacy
This singer/songwriter/interpreter/legendary lush and his songs were among the strangest AM radio fare of his time, always bordering on novelty, always teetering on hysteria, always amazing.
Funny and with more than just a dollop of tongue in cheek, this collection is everything you might ever want from this crackpot and then some. He covers Badfinger’s “Without You” and breaks into near sob on the penultimate chorus in a performance only eclipsed, wailing-wise, by Johnny Ray or the Righteous Brothers, his “wave of repetition” cadence on “Jump In The Fire” pre-dated “She Sells Sanctuary” by 15 years and the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack hits are as indelible as ever.
Never regarded as a “serious” artist the way a Van Morrison would be because he never made a dent on FM radio, Nilsson’s actual tracks stand up with anything from the transitional time between the ecstatic pop of AM 1969 and the Osmond/Partridge/Carpenters uselessness that followed. Dump your prejudices and getthis one. (JA)
KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND | KC and the Sunshine Band | Collector’s Choice/Rhino
Although the rock world and its adepts recoiled in horror upon the arrival of this Miami showband turned stadium act, in reality they themselves were one of the greatest bands of the ‘70s. In fact, there may be nothing more universally recognizable in the world of dance music than the intros and general sound of this disc’s massive hits “Get Down Tonight” and “That’s the Way (I Like It).”
Like almost every Top 40 act in history, the singles (three hits) are very compelling and the rest is filler for a reason, albeit with a nice throwaway beat. As most of us were converted or repelled by them on the radio, closer inspection reveals that the band’s two principals, H. W. Casey and Richard Finch, were peculiar session players, but neither was particularly skillful at anything but the most basic rudiments, which might be why these tracks still crackle—they’re finding themselves.
Great stuff, and in lieu of a “greatest hits,” why not? If anything brings back the actual liveliness of disco and South Florida shake, it’s this debut disc. (JA)