Built To Spill have built their reputation on the droning voice of lead singer Doug Martsch and their quirky songwriting. Much like the Flaming Lips, Built To Spill have an instantly recognizable sound and, on Ancient Melodies of the Future, it's not all their own.
From the opening track, which sounds oddly like the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind," right on through to the album's penultimate "Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss," this album makes reference to a hodgepodge of influences and muses.
That's not to say Built To Spill are just an indie-friendly cover band. Each song is peppered with this Boise, Idaho trio's own brand of flavoring. Even the Jane's Addiction-esque "In Your Mind" displays a turn of phrase of which Perry Farrell can only dream. And Wayne Coyne is surely cursing himself in a musty basement for not writing the melody to "Alarmed."
Ancient Melodies of the Future sounds more like "vaguely familiar melodies of the past," but so do some of the best albums in rock. Want to play a fun game? See if you can figure out which song sounds most like another you've heard. I'll give you a ringer: Track six's verse sounds eerily like the Who's "Christmas" from Tommy. It's better than six degrees of Kevin Bacon.