It may be that "There Is No Enemy," but Built to Spill's latest album has such a melancholy vibe, there may as well be.
Decidedly darker than 2006's "You In Reverse," the Boise quintet tones down its trademark guitar-driven rock on its seventh CD. "Enemy" is still a rock record, but the tempos are taken down a touch to carry frontman Doug Martsch's musings on mortality and the meaning of life.
He opens "Done" with "Loneliness is getting hard to perceive/Seems it never comes or it never leaves," and closes with a refrain of "It's already done, it's already done."
"It doesn't matter if you're good or smart," he sings on "Things Fall Apart," a languid tune punctuated by a lone happy horn.
But all is not hopeless. Guitarists Brett Netson and Jim Roth, bassist Brett Nelson and drummer Scott Plouf get upbeat on "Good of Boredom" as Martsch sings, "Most of my dreams have come true." On "Nowhere Lullaby," a slow track rich with reverb, he concludes "everyone gets through the night and everyone wakes up all right." He takes the sentiment further on the album's cheeriest track, "Planting Seeds": "We can make it if we try/If we don't it's still all right/Because your mind is still alive."
"There Is No Enemy," but according to Built to Spill, there's still plenty to think about.
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: Martsch's high-pitched voice is downright haunting on "Oh Yeah," a track marked by dramatic drums that melts into a psychedelic guitar-driven interlude reminiscent of vintage Pink Floyd.