Perhaps realizing that their time on a major label was likely limited, Built to Spill made a gutsy choice for Keep It Like a Secret, their second album for Warner Brothers. They embraced the sounds of a big studio and focused their sound without sacrificing their fractured indie rock aesthetic. In a sense, this is Built to Spill's pop album: every song is direct and clean, without the long, cerebral jamming that characterized their earlier albums. That's not to say that the album is compromised -- the songwriting may be streamlined, but Doug Martsch now packs all of his twists, turns, and detours into dense, three-minute blasts. This approach, combined with the shiny sonic textures, makes Keep It Like a Secret the most immediate and, yes, accessible Built to Spill record, but they steadfastly open their music up and breathe the way, say, Pavement did on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain or Brighten the Corners. Built to Spill still demand that listener meet them on their own terms -- these just happen to be the easiest terms to understand in their catalog.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine