Review Summary: Two songs, two people on the brink.
It's awfully easy to dismiss EPs as throwaways or wastes of time, especially when one can pick up the band's main album and probably recreate the feeling given. Anyone who's ever heard Slint's brooding math-rock epics will know better. The Slint EP is a two-song epic, a journey through some lightless place; thirteen minutes is all it needs stir the dredges of the human soul.
The first song "Glenn" is a spidery mid-tempo brooder, carried along with triple arpeggios and minimalistic drumbeats. The main riff kicks in at about 1:10, creeping along for a moment before the bass kicks in and out. It didn't strike me right away, but the drum tempo is very reminiscent of a heartbeat, though a little off-kilter. As the song hits the halfway mark, it grows a little claustrophobic, shrinking down in decibels but changing nothing else. Finally, the song dies away on a whisper, like the man on the album cover.
Song number two "Rhoda" is the direct inverse of the introverted, introspective "Glenn," immediately jabbing the listener with a wall full of wasp-like guitar feedback. In contrast to the previous song, the eighth notes are frantic and hysterical, stopping to rest until the halfway mark before crying out twice as loud. As the song dwindles to its endpoint, the layers of fuzz and static are stripped away without the listener being aware, until the last of the floundering notes dies in a puddle of a monotone hum. It's immediately jarring and stark even in its fast-paced movements, matching "Glenn" chord for chord with its bleak outlook.
I can't help but use the album cover as a comparison: a man's corpse sprawled out in front of two people, a man and a woman. "Glenn" thumps along and is unnerving because it could be that man standing over the body, the heartbeat rhythm a quaint reminder of eventual insanity. "Rhoda," on the other hand, could be the woman's hysterical reactions, which start up immediately after they've been quelled (around 3:00). Although "Rhoda" is actually an extended remake of the Tweez version, it's easy to envision the album cover as a moment of horror, frozen forever in time.
And the listener can revisit that gripping moment time and time again.