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Built to Spill built to thrive

Fri., Nov. 20, 2009

Band’s latest shows how indie rock, corporate labels can succeed together

Corporate record labels are not the enemy of indie rock.

At least not for bands like Built to Spill.

Doug Martsch, frontman for the Boise-based group that comes to the Knitting Factory on Saturday, is the rare artist who can do pretty much whatever he wants.

That a so-called indie-rock band could have so much much creative control, so much power, on a major label for so many years shows the true potential of the relationship between a band, its label and its fans.

Martsch continues to play more trust games on Built to Spill’s seventh full-length album, “There Is No Enemy,” released last month on Warner Bros. Records.

As is to be expected of a quintessential BtS album, “There Is No Enemy” is a guitar-laden series of revelations set to meticulously crafted compositions that are as enigmatic as they are enormous. The 11 tracks clock in at a little over 55 minutes.

The album contains the jammed-out prog-sprawl of Built to Spill’s critically acclaimed – though commercially overlooked – 1997 major-label debut, “Perfect From Now On.”

It also balances those lengthier leaps with the masterful pop sensibilities that recall the band’s second offering for Warner Bros., “Keep It Like a Secret.”

And like “You in Reverse” before it, “There Is No Enemy” is an unevenly split epic pop that switches directions often and without warning.

The album opens with a rhythmic glitch that sets up a the startling wailing wall of tremolo and fuzzed-out riffs of “Aisle 13,” a three-minute outline of circular logic escaping the dark corners of the mind through the dark hours of the mundane.

Marstch reveals through his signature falsetto, “Everyday something strange I can’t explain

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