First for music news
This Week's Issue
You’re logged in

Keep It Like A Secret

For a while back there we thought we'd lost you, [B]Doug[/B]....

Keep It Like A Secret

7 / 10 For a while back there we thought we'd lost you, Doug. Didn't quite work out with the last record, 1997's 'Perfect From Now On', did it?



Jaded, tired, sick to death with the 'business' of it all, Doug Martsch always knew Boise, Idaho's Built To Spill were more than mere product. "This is my art, my life," Martsch probably mused, "not a commodity." And so he hid himself away, out of the spotlight, out of the glare.



Annoyingly, art has a cruel way of imitating life, and so his grand opus, too, remained virtually unheard. Now, though, we have to reacquaint ourselves with the Spill, arguably, for what it's worth, the most unnecessarily complex US band of the last six years. No apparent personalities, no agenda and, this time, no cellist. Just a brazenly imaginative, often stunningly articulate take on the hoary beast that is indie rock, into which Martsch pours his love of Neil Young, The Beatles and, to state the obvious, a renewed faith in the power of melody. More than we'd ask for normally, but with Martsch - the only constant in his band's ever-changing line-up - this could just be enough.



And it is, easily. 'Keep It Like A Secret', for most people the obvious successor to 1994's brooding 'There's Nothing Wrong With Love', is the album you always want Sebadoh to make: unrestrained, kinda sensitive, speckled with paranoia and insecurities and, best of all, in love with the very idea of making music for the sheer thrill of it.



The progression, it seems, the reason for songs as elegant as 'Else', exists in the trio's new-found fondness for jamming and its marriage to Martsch's oft-overlooked pop disciplines. Some of it ('Center Of The Universe', 'Sidewalk') even sounds like Weezer, but really, that's OK.



Of course, Martsch wouldn't be an American singer-songwriter of choice without the standard demons to exorcise. Frequently, we learn, he is wrong, pathetic, insignificant - "life goes on long after the thrill of living has gone", the 28-year-old sings on the sweet shrill of 'You Were Right' - and truly, the last few years for Doug can't have been fun. Still. Brave, mad, dumb. It all helps.



They'll make a legend of him yet.

To rate this track, log in to NME.COM

To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday

Comments

Please login to add your comment.

More Videos
More
Latest Tickets - Booking Now
 
Know Your NME
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 

 
NME Store & Framed Prints
Most Read Reviews
Popular This Week
Inside NME.COM
On NME.COM Today