Album Review: Built To Spill- Untethered Moon

Review by Sean Lynch

RIYL: Modest Mouse, Dinosaur Jr. and Yo La Tengo

Song Recommendations: “All Our Songs,” “Living Zoo” and “So”

Grade: B

Built to Spill fans can finally rejoice because the band officially released their first album in six years with Untethered Moon. The Boise, Idaho natives have released their first album since There Is No Enemy back in 2009 and are looking to shake things up after a change in their rhythm section in 2012. Built to Spill really captures their classic sound when they originally started in the 90’s with their rough guitars.

“All Our Songs” is a song that carries some components of hard rock. The drums rumble on, the guitar uses a large amount of effects and the vocals are rough and makes you feel as if the band was live. The vocals from Doug Martsch sound similar to those of Michael Stipe of R.E.M. in which they both have a crooning style of singing. The guitar is complex on the song because of the multiple effects that it is puts through. The guitar slowly distorts and echos on as it is put to the test in numerous guitar solos within the song.

“So” is a song that comes off as extremely unpolished because of the rough guitars in the beginning. The vocals have an echoing effect and are rougher than the vocals off of other songs on Untethered Moon.

“Living Zoo” is one of the more mellow songs off of Untethered Moon. The guitar take the lead role as it climbs up and down the ladder and presents us with some catchy hooks over the course of the song. The tempo changes sporadically as Built to Spill changes from a sprint to a snail’s pace throughout the song.

Albums can go either way when a band is away from music for an extended period of time. The band can change artistic direction and completely change how they sound. Built to Spill combats this on Untethered Moon by going back to what they know best; effect heavy guitars and catchy guitar hooks. Even though this is the first record with the new rhythm section of Steve Gere in drums and Jason Albertini on bass, the band is able to go back to their original sound and create a solid album.


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