What a mess -- from all the sloppy guitar ramblings to the constant rhythm changes assuming that the rest of the band was barely aware of Doug Martsch's tempo swings, Ultimate Alternative Wavers is all over the place. But somehow, Built to Spill bounce off each other by using this technique of improvising what direction the sound is going to next. And with this being their first record, it's almost as if they're taking a cue from the likes of early Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. when it comes to their more experimental influences. But what keeps it together are Marsch's soulful but bleak vocals, which make lyrics like "nowhere, nothing, f*ck-up" seem like a pleasant singalong.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DaRonco