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Customer Review

on 12 March 2002
As we all know, live albums are never the best, be it a bootleg or an official release. The guitars are never loud enough and the vocals and drums drown everything else out. Built To Spill Live however, appears to be the exception to the rule. The levels are spot on, and for a band that relies so much on Doug Martsch's guitar smarts and the off beat rhythms of the band as a whole, this is integral to their delivery. BTS are usually a three piece indie rock band, who thrive on subtle melodies and sweet guitar harmonies. As much of the studio albums are heavily overdubbed however, the band have employed a second guitarist to take up the sonic slack in the stage sound. This allows Martsch more than ample opportunity to play sweet stratocaster drenched solos and intricate guitar riffs with no real 'bottoming out' of the sound. Nowhere is this less beneficial than in their 23 minute cover of Neil Young's 'Cortez the Killer', which is so compelling that I have personally listened to it twice in a row. Three quarters of an hour of anyone's life well spent.
BTS's own songs sound polished and effortless; 'Car' is a delicate lament from their '94 album 'There's Nothing Wrong With Love' that sounds amazingly improved from the album version, with Martsch's voice crackling, emotive and stronger. 'The Plan''s complex guitar parts and childish melody is a perfect opener, with juxtaposition to spare and 'Stop the Show' could be an In Utero era Nirvana going through the rock motions.
This album is the best live album I've heard in a while, and having seen BTS a couple of times, I would say that this is about as close as you are going to get without leaving your living room.
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