As it is they remain a defiantly cult concern...
Possibly because they look like homicidal farmers,[a]Built To Spill[/a] have never really caught on in quite the way expected. This, despite the fact that their last two studio albums (‘Perfect From Now On’ and last year’s brilliant ‘Keep It Like A Secret’) have more than matched bands like The Flaming Lips for sheer musical ambition.
Of course, the fact that mainman Doug Martsch hates doing interviews or leaving his beloved hometown of Boise, Idaho, hasn’t exactly helped. Which makes ‘Live’ something of a rarity. Recorded at various cities on Built To Spill‘s unusual foray across America last year, it constitutes a rare opportunity to hear the band give full vent to their epically layered psychedelic sound.
Rather than just a live run through their last LP, you get a 20-minute appraisal of Neil Young‘s ‘Cortez The Killer’ – which totally eclipses Mercury Rev‘s version, largely because Martsch‘s plaintive voice is a dead ringer for Young’s – alongside a serene version of their first single ‘Car’ and a feedback-coated cover of L/A/L song, ‘Singing Sores Make Perfect Swords’.
The rest of the record – notably the closing, 19-minute take on ‘Broken Chairs’ – is equally as inspired, and frustrating. Frustrating, because if only they’d have shaved their beards off and got out more often, Built To Spill would have gained the recognition they undoubtedly deserve. As it is they remain a defiantly cult concern, and the release of this LP is going to do nothing to change that.