When I was a kid, I'd occasionally get a new LP - The Who's Quadrophenia, Led Zep's Houses of the Holy, and Steely Dan's Can't Buy a Thrill come to mind - and play it so many times in a row that I was sure it would melt right on the hi-fi. That rarely happens these days, but it's been happening since Saturday with You in Reverse, the first CD in five years from Boise's Built to Spill.
I have never been a huge BTS fan. I had a few tracks of theirs floating around my mp3 files, but that's been about it. But last week's incessant hype (coupled with a write-up in the current issue of Paste magazine, which also has a story on singer-songwriter Josh Ritter of Moscow, ID) convinced me that civic pride demanded I go buy this disc. I waited until the weekend, which was a good thing, because I have a hard time working and listening to music at the same time.
I got my copy at the Record Exchange (where it's on sale for $12 until May 1) and slipped it in the car deck as I started out on some more errands. I was sold by the time I crossed the Americana Bridge heading back up to the Bench, and by Sunday night I'd played it another half-dozen times.
The standout tracks are the first, "Goin' Against Your Mind," running nearly nine manic minutes; "Conventional Wisdom," a potent mix of guitar-driven power pop and prog rock; and "Wherever You Go," about which local rock crit Michael Deeds wrote that Built to Spill is so effortlessly channeling Crazy Horse "that it makes you suspect that (bandleader Doug) Martsch and Neil Young should probably just take a DNA test." Cool touches abound throughout the disc, though, like the organ refrain and final blips at the end of "Gone" and the trippy echo and gleeful noisemaking of "The Wait," a song that seems to be about how hard it is to be satisfied with what's in front of us.
These days, I only geek out on a record once or twice a year, but it's always thrilling to be taken back to those days in the 1970s and 1980s when I pretty much lived, breathed, ate, drank, and inhaled music and I had a new favorite record every week. You in Reverse looks like it'll have a place on an all-time-greats list that includes (for me) Beck's Guero, Green Day's American Idiot, Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, No Doubt's Rock Steady, U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind, Radiohead's Kid A, PJ Harvey's Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea, Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend, to name a few faves from just the past 15 years. Check out this disc and also tell me: What's on your list?