Happy 10th: Built to Spill, You in Reverse

Monday, April 11, 2016
Happy 10th: Built to Spill, You in Reverse

10 years ago today, Built to Spill released their sixth studio album, their fourth album for Warner Brothers, and their first album as a quartet.

Co-produced by Steven Wray Lobdell and frontman Doug Martsch, You in Reverse was the first time Built to Spill had delivered an album without having Phil Ek twiddling the knobs for the band, but there’s another notable thing about the LP: it had actually been recorded back in 2004, but it took the better part of two years for it to see release. Why? Well, it’s been said that it was due to a combination of difficulties associated with the use of a new recording facility, inefficiencies associated with self-producing the album, and time constraints, but once it finally hit record store shelves, it hardly mattered.

As Built to Spill’s press release trumpeted at the time, You in Reverse was “the most collaborative record in the band’s thirteen-year history: to a large extent, each musician wrote his own parts, (and) half of the finished material incorporates segments the band wrote together during jam sessions.” As for the band’s decision to self-produce the album, it’s noted that the band “felt a need to try something different, just to see what would happen.”

The sessions took place at Audible Alchemy Studios, owned by Steve Lobdell, which is how Lobdell came to be credited as co-producer, but Martsch sounded mildly dismissive of this credit in the press release: “It’s not even really produced. It’s cleanly recorded and mixed. It’s not slick.” With that said, however, Lobdell still gets his due credit from Martsch: “Steve played space echo, guitar, vibes, and percussion on the record. He understood the songs and their parameters, making specific and well-considered contributions.”

You in Reverse was Built to Spill’s highest charting album up to that point, hitting #63 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, and it was also well-received critically: as Tim Sendra wrote on AllMusic.com, “Though there are no great surprises on You in Reverse, it is one of Built to Spill's strongest efforts, and anyone who has followed their career knows that this is high praise indeed.”