Ancient Melodies of the Future
(Warner Brothers)
** 1/2

I have a bias towards Built to Spill: Doug Martsch was the first crush I ever had on an "adult." I loved him for his voice: a pretty, honest tenor that always sounded like his lyrics came from his diary. However, to those who've never heard BTS before, this record might sound really boring. Like Guided by Voices, Built to Spill doesn't ever really evolve or get better; they just keep playing the same, signature rock music. They do it very well, but it makes it so that, to really enjoy their post-innovation years, you probably have to have some sort of nostalgia factor attached. With Doug Martsch (or Bob Pollard) singing, the underlying guitars and drums can really do anything, and they are pretty much doing the same thing they've always done--held a pretty melody with dreamy distortion, and occasionally rocked out. Ancient Melodies of the Future is a solid album, with a steady tempo peppered with rocking dreaminess and the occasional organs/violins. And Doug Martsch is singing! JULIANNE SHEPHERD

Looking for Leonard original score
(Merge Records)

Listening to the moody score to Looking for Leonard makes me feel that my every move is a scene in a film. Doing the dishes seems unusually picturesque. Lying on the couch reading becomes a reflective moment. I imagine I'm being watched. Perhaps that's the sign of a good score: to illuminate the noteworthy in the most banal-seeming activities. Portastatic weave together a fabric of instrumental songs that no doubt provide a poignant backdrop to the actions on screen. But, like most soundtracks when considered out of context, this one lacks a focal point. That is surely a benefit to the film, but a detriment to the CD. The score should play a supporting role and leave the spotlight open for the film itself, but this dynamic begs the question: Can a score that dutifully supports the film also succeed as its own entity? If your imagination allows you to be the star in your make-believe movie life, then the answer is yes. JOSH HOOTEN

(Outward Music Company)

Reversender isn't a bad release; it's just not very exciting. Solenoid's brand of electronic music seems to have been influenced more by Super Mario than Mozart (it's similar to Plaid and -Ziq's early work). Occasional moments of brilliance are offset by several bland tracks that keep the album from really succeeding. A fair number of the cuts are characterized by cheerful melodies and bleepy beats, which is good since he doesn't do as well when he ventures into more sober territory. It often seems like he is trying to accomplish too much at once, and that inconsistency is the main problem. With a stronger focus, Solenoid could produce some excellent materials. SAM JACKSON