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There Is No Enemy CD

4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 Feb. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: ATP Recordings
  • ASIN: B0030BYTZ8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,800 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

BBC Review

Four minutes into the ninth song of Built to Spill’s seventh album, frontman Doug Martsch channels the spirit of a late, lamented comedic firebrand while calling for all those who practice the nefarious arts of advertising and marketing to kill themselves, cooing: “Bill Hicks was right, about what they should do”. But such bouts of protest-song polemic have been hitherto rare in the BtS songbook, and the rest of There Is No Enemy’s lyric sheet focuses on off-kilter love poesies, like the moment in opener Aisle 13 where he imagines his lover covered in ants, “Because you’re so sweet”.

Martsch, as long-term fans will attest, isn’t a man to monkey with a formula that works: since happening upon the winning trick of gilding his vulnerable and sweet ditties with layer after layer of overdubbed guitar, and strings, and synths, on his group’s proggily-symphonic (but never pompous) third album, 1997’s Perfect From Now On, he’s doggedly stuck to this blueprint. With his last two full-lengths, this formula began to feel somewhat formulaic, and not a little ‘phoned-in’; but while There Is No Enemy is BtS’s most arresting and engaging release in a decade, it too boasts no huge changes in direction or sound.

Perhaps it’s the celebrity guests on hand – Sam Coomes of Quasi, Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary and Jellyfish founder Roger Manning – who’ve provided the shot-in-the-arm that has re-energised Martsch. Regardless, There Is No Enemy plays brilliantly to Built to Spill’s strengths, epics like Done and Tomorrow caressed with graceful and painstakingly-arranged guitars, building to grand crescendos lent a cherishably human touch by Martsch’s fragile croon and lissom melodies.

This is, unquestionably, an album in love with the electric guitar, with its sonic possibilities, its emotional articulacy: if Martsch’s lyrics tend to the characteristically impenetrable, the over-layered cat’s-cradles of FX-doused solos, duos, trios and quartets locate the songs’ heart and soul, their emotional message. Despite the bounty of overdubs, however, there’s little self-indulgence to There Is No Enemy; Martsch’s overloaded approach might scream ‘prog’, but he also possesses a perfectly-disciplined, ‘pop’ songwriting sensibility, with every lengthy instrumental coda married to contagious choruses and melodic barbs that lodge in the mind.

It’s a tricky balance to maintain; that There Is No Enemy manages it so brilliantly is reason for celebration. --Stevie Chick

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alister King on 4 Aug. 2010
Format: Audio CD
Layered guitars, indie jamming with added strings & synths, and a renewed emotional urgency are the hallmarks of this rather grand record. Its a sort of US proggy pop with songs that are mainly quirky sweet ditties. Features Jellyfish founder Roger Manning on keys which simply has to be a good thing whenever you say it. Planting Seeds blasts off like a classic Neil Young track and is one of the best tracks on the album. Nice melody, chiming guitars and strong chorus. Things Fall Apart (another highlight) by contrast is a gorgeous ballad that builds to a mid section which finds room for both a trumpet and guitar. Splendid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tony on 12 Feb. 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've loved Built to Spill ever since "There's Nothing Wrong With Love" but I felt that their last couple of releases had been a little meandering and directionless. Not so with this, it's a blistering return to form and stands up well against their aforementioned classic. This was one of my albums of the year last year and it's still getting more than its fair share of stereo play this year. A great album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Really good album for Marsh, with the song "done" that according to my opinion is at the highest levels expressed by built to spill.
However the album as a whole is undoubtely not at the level of Perfect from now and Keep it like a secret, gems of the ninenties.
But it's probably impossible and for a costant listener of Built to spill I'm satisfied of the music that "there is no enemy" has to offer.
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By Benny on 5 April 2011
Format: Audio CD
I found the second half of the album excellent. Of the first half of songs, the first 2 are excellent (Hindsight is hit single material) but next 3 dragged a little. No big surprises for fans, but you will not be disappointed.

Would love to hear these songs live - especially the closer, Tomorrow. Bizarrely I saw BTS during a tour at the time of the album's release and they only played one song from this set - Hindsight.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Built to Spill - There Is No Enemy 6 Oct. 2009
By Andrew Vice - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There Is No Enemy is something of a return to form for a band that practically invented that form in the first place. Built to Spill's 90's albums pretty much set the standard for what indie rock could and should be: sprawling, elegant, aggressive. At the turn of the century, the band seemed to lose their way, producing a couple of decent albums in 2001 and 2006, but ultimately failing to achieve the sheer perfection that they did on their earlier works. Fortunately, it seems like Doug Martsch has found some new inspiration, because this is an excellent set of songs that sound like classic Built to Spill, with all the riffage and confounding lyrics that go with that.

The album on a whole is a really strong set of indie rockers, but one of my particular favorites is "Hindsight," which is something of a midtempo ballad that manages to cover a ton of ground in its mere three minutes and some seconds. I think it's safe to say that Built to Spill fans will love this record and the lack of indulgent sprawl that marred some of You In Reverse's best moments.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Solid Album That Fits In With The Bands Work 13 Oct. 2009
By Jonathan Bechtel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I think most BTS fans will find 'There Is No Enemy' to be a decent but unspectacular album in the band's lineup. Its place in the band's heirarchy has more to do with BTS's consistently good output over the last 15 years than any serious shortcomings the album has.

In production quality, the album has a similar feel to 'You In Reverse' but it lacks some of the previous album's excess, and has a more laid back, melodic feel. Most of the songs sound as if they originated from Doug's pen first, with jams put around it instead of the other way around. Aside from minor instrumentation additions, there's nothing really new for BTS. The biggest difference is that Doug's lyrics seem more straight forward than in album's past, he sings openly about things like love and disappointment throughout most of the album.

For me the high points were the first 5 songs on the album and the closer 'Tomorrow', which I thought was very good. I was not elated when I first heard this album, but I'm not disappointed either. Built To Spill sounds like a band that has refined its sound into something unique and enjoyable, but has also taken it as far as it can go. I imagine I'll continue to enjoy the work of Built To Spill, but I will no longer be surprised by anything they do. As long as they continue on their current track, I'm okay with that.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
It's a great album 18 Oct. 2009
By David Knottnerus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First, I love the album, I just deployed to Iraq, last month, so I just happened to be checking if there was anyhting new out from BTS, and sure enough there was! I began crying, and held my hands up to heaven, thanking god and all his glory. well it wasn't quite like that but I was pretty stoked. I downloaded it off our great internet connection that took me about an hour.
So far I've listened to it about 10 times and it seems to get better after every play through. "Things Fall Apart", and "Tomorow" are great tracks, so's "Boredom".Yes it sounds like typical BTS but it also sounds different, with little flourishes here and there, horns and what not.
Now as for the audio quality, I don't know if it's my computer, or my crap headphones, but if I turn it up to much, it starts to distort, I don't normally get this on other albums. I just ordered a new set of SONY V6 Studio Monitor headphones, so I'll see if it still happens on those. But I think it might have been mixed a little HOT. I ordered a copy on vinyl for my wife, and I'm going to test it against that when I go home on leave. for now I'll just enjoy what I got.
Bottom line, it's a good album, with great songs.
****UPDATE****
I got my new headphones, and it sounds perfect through them, So I would change my review to 5 stars but it won't let me.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Fresh and relevant after all these years 15 Nov. 2009
By vedderoh1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Built to Spill returns with a seventh LP that sounds serene, tight and rich in melody. Although there is no reiterative stridence the amazing guitars are omnipresent to offer a solid return after five years of absence. The bearded fellows are not really exploring new territories here; they seem content with the road they have walked so far and are indulging in flashbacks of a glorious past.

Good ol' boredom does not live up to its name and offers instead a mix of banging drums and the distinctive Doug Marstch guitar and vocals soaring in the over six minutes it lasts. Oh yeah and Life's a dream follow the same pattern of delivering majestic, simple tunes with a cadence that would otherwise be lethargic. Things fall apart is a perfect reminder of what brought them where they stand now. The inclusion of trumpets right in between spacey guitar solos makes up for a memorable track.

Tomorrow closes with a spine-chilling opus where lines like It's wonderful and scary / knowing what's alive... that's what makes me wanna never die morph their denotative meaning to resume the entire vibe of the album. No hidden meanings, no heartbreaking memories, just music, laid back and powered by an inherent drive.

Marstch has conceded in a recent interview saying that this is a collection of previously rehearsed songs and not the fruit of a recording session per se. Judging by the quality of the tracks we would venture to say they have a kick-ass time jamming.

That's where the real genius of a band not looking to sound current or impress anyone beyond themselves lies; following up two of the best indie records of the past decade can be a daunting task but in this case the campiness becomes familiar and the familiar becomes intimate within seconds. There is nothing else one could ask from them.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Keep Listening 21 Dec. 2011
By Carolina Boy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I really enjoy this latest album by Built to Spill. There are some standout tracks on here. I listened to the album all the way through once, was fairly impressed, but each time after I find different nuances and notes that impress me even more. That's why BTS is special for me; no other band is so layered and complex yet simple and elegant. I know other reviews are quick to point out that other BTS albums are superior. In my opinion, the 3 record run in 1990's (There's Nothing Wrong with Love, Perfect From Now On, and Keep it Like a Secret) is the most impressive run in that era outside of Nirvana. Those albums were THAT great, and could be played without skipping a track on any of them. On this album, there's only 2 songs that don't move me (Oh Yeah and Good Ol Boredom). For me, the standout tracks are Hindsight, Pat, and Tomorrow. In an era of no one really making CD's anymore, that's quite a feat, and it is why I rank this one the 4th best in Built to Spill's catalog (in that regard it's 4 stars). But this is only for someone who is looking to compare between BTS' previous work. When you compare this to any other "rock" music out there, or the garbage that is popular, this is head and shoulders better than anything else being made today(hence, the 5 stars I give it). I would recommend this to anyone looking for a quality album to play without having to skip tracks or just listen to 3 songs and switch it. I guess that's why BTS is my favorite band. Doug M understands that there are still fans and people who appreciate excellent written songs, well constructed music, and heart and soul. Every time my faith in music is tested, Built to Spill makes a record, and I believe again.
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