No Description Available — Track: 10: Broken Chairs,Track: 1: Plan,Track: 2: Center Of The Universe,Track: 3: Carry The Zero,Track: 4: Sidewalk,Track: 5: Bad Light,Track: 6: Time Trap,Track: 7: Else,Track: 8: You Were Right... more »,Track: 9: Temporarily Blind
No Description Available
Track: 10: Broken Chairs,Track: 1: Plan,Track: 2: Center Of The Universe,Track: 3: Carry The Zero,Track: 4: Sidewalk,Track: 5: Bad Light,Track: 6: Time Trap,Track: 7: Else,Track: 8: You Were Right,Track: 9: Temporarily Blind
Media Type: CD
Artist: BUILT TO SPILL
Title: KEEP IT LIKE A SECRET
Street Release Date: 02/23/1999
"This is an album I love and respect each time I listen to it. I respect it because Doug Martsch engages in some self-abnegation in order to produce more finely crafted, balanced songs. Much like guitar myth Richard Thompson, who saves most his guitar heroics for live performances, Martsch largely abstains from the astounding solos at which he excels in live shows in order to keep the focus on the songs. This isn't to say that he doesn't plan some amazing guitar on the album; indeed, the album stands almost as an encyclopedia of the uses to which a guitar can be put in a song. But it is to say that instead of solos or instrumental breaks that showcase his formidable skills as a guitarist, he opts instead for using his instrument as a means of texturing and coloring each songs. Martsch largely achieves this by magically synthesizing a host of predecessor guitarists. Contrast him with Thompson again for a moment: Thompson constantly plays guitar parts that sound like no one else in the history of guitar. Martsch constantly plays bits that sound like earlier guitarists, but the genius comes from the way he seamlessly blends them together to achieve a magical synthesis. He can sound in the span of a few songs like guitarists as varied as Johnny Marr of The Smiths, Neil Young, Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd of Television, J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., Greg Sage, Richard Quine, Robbie Robertson, Bob Mould, and even the Edge. But it is Martsch's ability to spin on a dime to channel some guitar trick he picked up from somewhere and blend it with something else he learned in another place that can make this album so sonically exhilarating.
Thanks to Martsch's genius on guitar, these songs are perfectly crafted entities, but that doesn't mean that the album as a whole is perfect. As much as I adore Martsch as a musician and writer, he isn't the most compelling vocalist on the planet, and if you were to search for the album's weak link, it is his singing. He isn't a bad vocalist; he simply doesn't sing as well as he does everything else. Also, I don't care for the way the voice is balanced with the rest of the band's elements. The voice is way back in the mix, and barely stands out from the multi-tracked guitars, bass, and drums. Compare him again with Thompson, who always has his voice (admittedly a bit stronger than Martsch's) at the front of the mix. On nearly every song the band tends to obscure what is happening vocally, which is a shame because the lyrics are frequently quite interesting.
Still, this remains one of the finest alternative albums of the late nineties, and a must-own for anyone who loves great music or a master guitarist. The songs are all absolutely brilliant, veritable kaleidoscopes of sound.
The secret's still kept, unfortunately...
Michael Kluge | San Jose, CA United States | 05/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On the fringes of music you can find some really spectacular things. It's a journey that's often worth taking- trying to scope out artists doing something unique and passionate in the face of everything corporate and plain.Here's one of those few examples of true gems that can only really be found with a little searching. Think Sonic Youth but cut the abstraction, and make the music poppier and more accesible, and you've got in in a nutshell. In all honesty, I'm completely surprised that Built to Spill hasn't recieved something greater than the (albiet big) cult following they've appreciated over the last 10 years or so.This album leads off, uh, perfectly from "Perfect from Now On." Where that very incredible album in its own right had sprawling song scapes and drawn out guitar solos that lent it an epic feel, here you get a taste of the epic but also the pop perfection Built to Spill had acheived with its earlier releases.It starts off with probably the most concise statement of their musical direction yet, "The Plan," which combines sprawling guitar squalor, Doug Martsch's chiming boyish voice, and interesting drum play all into the space of 3 1/2 minutes. The next, "Center of the Universe," is probably their most pop statement, with a loping beat and vocal refections on success. "Carry the Zero" follows with ringing guitar and almost dreampop stylings. It's the best 6 minutes on the album. The album swings from one spectrum to another, with stomping rock in "Bad Light," fun pop meets hair metal in "Sidewalk," phillosophical ruminations on "Time Trap," gentle harmonies and longing on probably their most beautiful moment "Else." The album concludes somewhat full circle with a stunningly epic track, "Broken Chairs," the aural equivalent of a relationship breaking. Few albums can sound so varied and yet seem so consistent at the same time. It's also amazing that despite middling in indie territory this band has been able to develop so nicely. The future doesn't bode well as Martsch has recently released a solo album, but one can always hope that the band will pull an REM ala "Out of Time" and get the success they deserve. If you love guitar rock and are searching for a band with depth and emotion in a stale time for music, do yourself and this wonderous band a favor and buy this album already."
Powerful Northwest Music
Meg | Seattle, WA | 09/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Built to Spill is both creative and focused. Their sounds are beautiful and skillful. They are talented in all areas, both musically and lyrically. The guitar sounds bob and weave, bringing songs to a haunting conclusion. Broken Chairs is such a song. At a hefty 8 minutes, Built to Spill showcases wonderful guitar solos and other various instruments. The songs, at first, sound distant and unappealing. However, continued exposure will have you thinking, "Wow." Carry the Zero is an amazing song, which leaves you breathless and emotionally spent. It's sad melodies are representative of most of the album. For a change of pace, listen to Center of the Universe. This song had limited radio airplay, and is the most instantly catchy song. Also, Sidewalk, is an upbeat song, reminding me of British pop rock songs. The greatest gem on the CD has to be You Were Right. It is a power punch of a song dealing with fleeting fame and contains many rock references. Keep it a Secret is a masterpiece, and a testament of Northwest music."
Meg | 02/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was the best CD of the decade of the 1990's in my opinion. By a VERY wide margin. Doug Martsch is the most gifted musician I have heard in a long long time. I've never heard music sound like this before. Darn near perfect arrangement on every song. Doug's skill is to layer seemingly independent guitar melodies on top of each other, creating an amazing wall of sound in which the guitars seem to be talking to each other. If anyone can do it better, I'd like to hear it. Perfect examples are Temporarily Blind, where especially towards the end, there are two or three guitar lines competing for your attention, and Else, which is one of the most beautiful guitar arrangements I've ever heard. I've owned this album since shortly after it came out, and it's been in my heavy rotation until this very day. As a rule, I don't judge people by their musical preferences because it only starts arguments, but it is beyond me how ANYONE could listen to this album and not understand its sheer brilliance. Though I am happy with Built to Spill remaining a secret to the radio waves, it's a shame that a genius like Doug Martsch probably won't ever be recognized, while garbage like Creed, NStink, and Britney are just raking in the millions, despite having no talent.If you like rock music and creative guitar work, don't walk, RUN and buy this album. It's wonderful music."
The Best by the Best
J. Bernbach | New York, NY United States | 01/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Simply put, Keep it Like a Secret is the culmination of the greatest three album run in indie rock history.
My story with this album is something like MWM's just below. It's a little embarassing but it must be told. I bought this album when it came out in '99. Somehow, I didn't get it. Somehow, I stopped listening to it almost immediately. And somehow, I eventually sold it back. It wasn't until 5 years later that I got back into BTS via There's Nothing Wrong With Love. I quickly got every BTS recording including obscure stuff like the BTS/Caustic Resin EP. Having seen them in NYC last year, I feel comfortable now calling them my favorite band.
I too regret my lost time with this band, but my failure to connect immediately with them is not a random thing. This stuff comes at your ear from a different direction than you may be used to and it MUST be listened to several times before you start to get it. You hear the word "angular" used a lot to describe BTS and whatever that means it seems to convey this facet of their music. Great music is often uncomfortable to hear the first time and BTS was because it truly is something different, an advance in the history of rock music.
Humorously enough, my brother, who has similar musical taste to me is caught where I was 5 years back. He owns this one and never spins it. I burned him There's Nothing Wrong With Love and Perfect From Now On and he shrugged them off after one listen. Dude, if you're reading this, get into this band already.
For those new to BTS, this is a great place to start. There are definitely moments on their previous two albums that I would consider my favorites (Car, Big Dipper, I Would Hurt a Fly), but this is probably their most consistent and accessible album overall.
This band tends to be compared to Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse and Pavement, but if you're like me, you find those bands either too avant garde, too angry or too arch (respectively) to truly love them and setlle for liking them instead. While similar, Built to Spill are humble and earnest enough to connect with emotionally and they are adventurous and experimental without resorting to pointless noise. Get this, then go to town on their whole catalog, then wait breathlessly for "You in Reverse" in April. "