Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Canon #6

Built To Spill - "Velvet Waltz"

When I was young enough to believe that a band could save my life, Built To Spill saved my life. What did they save me from exactly? Not hyperbole. They simply gave me much-needed solace in the form of sublime guitar symphonies. Built To Spill's music is simultaneously epic and intimate. Their songs have always taken lofty themes like dreams, eternity, space, the loss of innocence, and the ugly side of human nature, and dealt with them on a very personal level.

"Velvet Waltz" is Built To Spill at the peak of their abilities. Set to a 3/4 waltz beat (duh), the song's lucid melody chimes in as Doug Martsch laments: "If there's a word for you/it doesn't" mean anything/I've got some words for you/They don't offer anything." As the verse progresses, the pace quickens and a cello and moog synthesizer materialize inside the dense swirl of guitar - creating a thick fever dream of song. Around the 5 minute mark, the lyrics come to an abrupt end as Doug proclaims: "but how could you have known/the temperature, the distance to the sun." Almost immediately, Doug and Bret Netson's guitars start erupting into astral flares - searing peels of melodic feedback bleeding everywhere. The rhythm section holds everything together at that steady waltz time as Doug and Bret continue to create the aural equivalent of staring at the sun.

Listening to this on my headphones or in my car over and over again probably never had any effect on my lifespan, but, at the very least, it put some beauty and wonder into my life.


At 9:52 pm GMT-5, Anonymous James said...

First time visitor!

Lovin' "You In Reverse."


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