Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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You in Reverse
Warner Bros.

Reclusive northwest standard-bearers do what they do best, pretty darn well

Built to Spill's Doug Martsch is the most modest and faithful of all the alt-rock guitar gods who adore Neil Young. But he's also as true to himself as the more visibly eccentric J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. or Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo. Poised for the kind of high-yield marginality alt bands dreamed of in 1999, Martsch's ever-evolving cohort waited five years to record this avowedly more collaborative album, which resembles its predecessors much the way Young's do: It plods before revealing its considerable sonic luxuries and melodic charms. Since Young's knack for the pungent snippet of tune or metaphor escapes acolytes like Martsch, the only one of the 10 solidly enjoyable songs that fully asserts itself has a faintly Middle Eastern cast. No one who adores dynamite guitar solos will care a bit.

Blender, May 2006