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Epic Drama Meets Easygoing Rock

Built To Spill makes music that lingers longer than some might expect.
Built To Spill makes music that lingers longer than some might expect.

Driven by Doug Martsch's distinctive vocals, sprawling guitar heroics and intricate, catchy songwriting, Built To Spill melds epic jams with oddly jaunty pop-rock melodies in a way that scarcely disappoints. On You in Reverse, the group's seventh studio album -- and first in five years -- Built To Spill took a more collaborative approach than usual, and the result is an album that seamlessly marries larger-than-life drama with more leisurely five- and six-minute rock songs.

On "Liar," the band straddles both sides of that equation without straying too far in either direction, and the result sounds liberating and breezy, but still bracingly unpredictable and subtly intense. "Liar" is far from a conventional rock song, as Martsch's oblique but evocative lyrics -- "Passing over, passion's pull, passing everything" -- help make the song linger longer than listeners might expect at first.

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John Richards
John Richards is the host and producer of The Morning Show with John on 90.3 FM KEXP Seattle, and online at . He is also KEXP's assistant program director.