Built to Spill Ancient Melodies of the Future

Doug Martsch is up to his usual tricks on Built to Spill's latest, Ancient Melodies of the Future. A collection of emotive guitar-driven numbers, including highlights "The Weather" and "You Are," the ten-track album sees the thoughtful singer/songwriter rage and soften as he muses about the state of love and trust in his own life. The dense soundtrack swells with fellow feelings and layered guitar solos underscoring the pathos of any given situation, making much of Ancient Melodies... perfect fodder for the Dawson's Creek soundtrack or Gap's next commercial theme, "Everybody in Powdered Wigs," or whatever. Of course, neither of those mainstream outlets would be hip enough to champion major label underdogs like Built to Spill. There's more to this dense, earnest rock than merely the crank and crush of Martsch's six-string, as the ambitious album titles suggests. The music grooves with some eclectic bents, including Middle Eastern keyboard lines and George Thorogood-style slide guitar, which might startle the indie rock kids that have made Built to Spill cult heroes. But one spin makes it clear: Martsch has subsumed a wide variety of rock motifs to make a genuine house rockin' disc that owes as much to Genesis as it does to Guided By Voices. (Warner)