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The album art for Built to Spill’s new album There Is No Enemy is probably the most accurate visual rendering of how I think of their music I’ve ever seen. Their music–to me, anyways–is like this dreamy, dark, huge, heavy-breathing animal stumbling through the night, just barely missing crushing houses, and then the creature looks back with this half-grin on its ugly, surreal head and mumbles, sorry about that, I’ll look out for houses next time I’m trundling around in the dark.

Built to Spill just produced their finest album since 1997’s Perfect from Now On. Dark, ethereal, hazy and half-stoned, There Is No Enemy has this really, really sad mood to it.  Perfect from Now On, to me, always had this sort of existential, cosmic angst to it. There is No Enemy has angst, but it’s more grounded on earth and in the psyche. It’s this self-depreciating, angry feeling that you feel after something terrible happens, and you realize that there is no one to blame except yourself. Hence the title There is No Enemy–except yourself.

However, the album also seems to celebrate defeating depression, and arriving at a happier, stabler state of mind. On their song “Hindsight”, Doug Martsch sings “They don’t wanna think about the other side/Is that grass just greener cause it’s fake?” and then contradicts this by singing about a kind of paradise:

“What about Canada?
It’s paradise with pines and ice
Morning comes in freight ships while your sleeping
Batting two ideas with no surprise.”

I remember the first time I heard Built to Spill. My friend Mark Saldaña told me to listen to either their song “Car” or album Keep it Like a Secret. He probably said that it was cool and I should check it out, so then I plugged it into my CD player and gave it a listen. The melancholy, wistful feeling I felt when I first heard the band years ago is back in full force with this album. It’s a powerful, hard-hitting album, and is definitely worth a listen.

Here’s a taste of There Is No Enemy. It’s called “Things Fall Apart”. I’ve been listening to it on repeat. SO GOOD. I also love the fact that they’re from Idaho. Take that, Williamsburg. Enjoy!

Here’s the link for the download. Yahoo!

http://www.myspace.com/builttospill

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