Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Entertainment Weekly
    100
    A lovely surprise. [17 Aug 2001, p.72]
  2. Magnet
    90
    Martsch and Co. have dipped their bucket deep into the well of pop's past to create a recombinant, joyous sound that has few modern equals. [#51, p.87]
  3. Built To Spill relies on old-school verses/ choruses that demand humming just like that old-time rock 'n' roll...
  4. Built to Spill's latest album is mellower, dreamier, and more laidback than their previous recordings.... Yet the album is as much of a rock-guitar masterpiece as anything they've done.
  5. With their intensely layered harmonies, pounding rhythms and Martsch's own nasal drawl, songs like "Alarmed" and "You Are" are sublimely hummable pop gems.
  6. 80
    Not as immediate as Keep It Like A Secret, or as unified on the sonic surface, but with enough patience, Ancient Melodies of the Future resonates on a level that connects the band's body of work, while also taking it a step further.
  7. Built to Spill expands on the big sound that they crafted with Keep It Like a Secret.
  8. Ancient Melodies... acknowledges the importance of ongoing adult relationships. This may reduce the music's hipness quotient, but it greatly increases its emotional resonance.
  9. Martsch and his bandmates (bassist Brett Nelson and drummer Scott Plouf) continue to make dense, driving rock with good old-fashioned chords and melodies, and for this we should all be grateful.
  10. Once it establishes that it won't again radically update the Idahoans' sound, Ancient Melodies Of The Future reveals itself for what it is: a compilation of 10 more snaky, tricky, engrossing rock songs that continue in the vein of arguably Built To Spill's best album.
  11. Songwriter Doug Martsch again succeeds in striking an impressive balance between guitar-saturated bombast and impeccable melodic taste.
  12. For most other groups, it would be a winner, but for Built To Spill it's a slight comedown from their stellar streak.
  13. It lacks the freewheeling, go-for-broke gusto of its predecessors.
  14. Spin
    70
    Built to Spill used to grab for structure, dividing albums between compact songs and epic gushers; now the songs themselves throb like big guitar solos. [Aug 2001, p.137]
  15. Has muddied sound in spots but careful, detailed and varied playing.
  16. It's not that the music is bad, per se, it's just not very interesting.
  17. Alternative Press
    60
    With Ancient Melodies, Built To Spill are concentrating more on developing a single idea rather than worrying about the patchworking of the past. This fails to play to Built To Spill's strength: their firm handle on alt-guitar dynamics. [Aug 2001, p.78]
  18. Ancient Melodies of the Future sounds more like "vaguely familiar melodies of the past," but so do some of the best albums in rock.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. KrisB
    Jan 19, 2006
    8
    I was a bit too rough on this album when i first heard it a few years ago. Yes, it is a slight step backward from their previous albums, but I was a bit too rough on this album when i first heard it a few years ago. Yes, it is a slight step backward from their previous albums, but it's still better than most music out there. It's just a different, more jaded Built to Spill. Their fans have to just get used to the fact that they put out three perfect albums, and they'll continue to make incredible albums until their end. Full Review »
  2. yaright
    Jan 10, 2005
    10
    moody, melodic, beautiful, bliss......
  3. JulianE.
    Aug 16, 2002
    9
    I am an aussie and I have never heard of these guys - I bought this and it is truly amazing - mesmerising and intelligent stuff. I listened I am an aussie and I have never heard of these guys - I bought this and it is truly amazing - mesmerising and intelligent stuff. I listened to their previous album and this latest album makes it look young and unfulfilled however indie-guitar-worthy. World, get this latest gem. Full Review »