Album Review: Built To Spill – When The Wind Forgets Your Name

By Adrian Woods, Contributor
[Sub Pop; 2022]
Rating: 7/10

Key tracks: Gonna Lose, Rocksteady, Spiderweb

Built To Spill is back with their first new material since 2015, When The Wind Forgets Your Name (The band released a Daniel Johnston cover album in 2019, but, obviously, no original songs were on it). Of course, being one of the most beloved indie rock groups to come out of the ‘90s, every release is going to be highly anticipated, and while this album may not be even near the level of quality of their earlier records such as Keep It Like a Secret or Ultimate Alternative Wavers, When The Wind Forgets is still a fun album that keeps in the spirit of a Built To Spill album.

Read more: Album Review: The Chats – Get Fucked

For a band that has had as many lineup changes as Built To Spill, the band has never felt extremely different, and the same goes for this new release. Sure, the arrangement of instruments feels a bit different because of the new bassist Teresa Esquerra and new drummer Melanie Radford, but Doug Martsch, being the iconic figure in the indie rock scene that he is, makes the album feel cohesive and special. Martsch’s tight songwriting and high-pitched, original vocal performance is so top notch that it could not possibly be mistaken for any band other than Built to Spill. 

With each Built To Spill record, it feels almost that songs from the album rhyme off of other Built To Spill albums; not exactly the same, but similar — and that is not a bad thing at all. The opening track “Gonna Lose” is one of the band’s best album openers in a while. It’s reminiscent of “Goin’ Against Your Mind” on the album You In Reverse, working as a track that grabs your attention as a hard-hitting and fierce tune. It’s not too long, but it gets the job done. Another great song on the album, “Rocksteady,” is reminiscent of Keep It Like A Secret’sElse,” a mellow song that leads to more introspective thought than most riff-heavy tracks. One of the first singles from the album, “Spiderweb,” seems that it could also fit on their first record, Ultimate Alternative Wavers. It is a fuzzy song with a catchy riff, making it a great way to promote their new album.

Although this album has its highs, it also has a few lows. The last two songs “Never Alright” and “Alright” before the eight minute closer “Comes a Day” seem a bit tacked on, and could have been cut due to the last song being such a grand finale to the record. The other tracks don’t feel nearly as important as the closer, or the rest of the songs on the album.

Although this is not near the top of Built To Spills releases over the years, When The Wind Forgets Your Name is a solid record that keeps Built To Spill’s reputation alive as a solid indie rock band, still making quality record all these years later.

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