Perhaps the most impressive thing about Built to Spill's run in the 1990s was the band's ability to one-better itself on each new release.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Built to Spill's run in the 1990s was the band's ability to one-better itself on each new release. But after brilliantly synthesizing the duality of its sound—the indie-pop bliss of There's Nothing Wrong With Love (1994) and the Neil Young-inspired guitar epics of Perfect From Now On ('97)—1999's Keep It Like a Secret found singer/guitarist Doug Martsch and company to be at a loss as to how to advance themselves further. Now Ancient Melodies of the Future picks up where Keep It Like a Secret left off. While the results are largely familiar, the album is not without its inspired moments. Such tracks as the Quasi-influenced rocksichord rocker "Strange," the Middle Eastern-flavored "In Your Mind," and the driving powerhouse "Don't Try" all prove why Built to Spill rank among today's most revered indie-rock acts.—BG