Review Summary: The Big Bang Theory of post-rock.
Who the fu
ck is Slint? Why should anyone even care about them? Well, they are four Kentucky natives that practically created the self-proclaimed genre of post-rock and probably the best thing to come from Kentucky as far as music is concerned. Maybe there is a reason to care about Slint and their 1991 masterpiece, Spiderland
Throughout, the verses are generally spoken like the narration of a book or movie. The hypnotizing tone of Brian McMahan is often soft, but the effect it has on the music is irrevocable. “Breadcrumb Trail” is the first apparent sign of his vocal work as he talks about meeting a fortuneteller at an amusement park and the story of their adventure together in a story-telling tone of voice. Instrumentally, the guitars sound rarely similar between clean harmonic strums to begin the song and the ever-changing distorted guitar sections that trudge and shred as it rolls along, similar to the pace of the rest of the album. As it was said vaguely before, the use of harmonics is widespread throughout the album. With distortion added to the abundance of harmonic notes, it can be a piercing yet gorgeous tone present in songs like, “Nosferatu.” In addition, “Nosferatu,” has parts that are repetitive, but past the sludgy and continuing guitar sound, a subtle drum click or screeching guitar chords break the song into a different and equally mesmerizing direction. “Don, Aman” is perhaps the eeriest track on the album with slow and churning guitar strums accompanied by creepy narration making the drum-less atmosphere like a true horror story, eventually capped off with an unexpected musical change that make the song’s aura even better (it’s a surprise).
The two best songs on the album, with almost no contest, are “Washer” and “Good Morning, Captain.” Between the two of them, totaling over sixteen minutes of bliss, the journey is simply incredible. ‘Goodnight my love, remember me as you fall to sleep, fill your pockets with the dust and the memories that rises from the shoes on my feet. I won't be back here, though we may meet again.’ Word for word, that is how “Washer” begins (pfftt…how emo of them!). A somber beginning to such an enchanting song that lurks with a haunting beat that carries the song until its heavy and slam-you-in-your-face ending that slays the mood into just pure anger and a wall of sound for just over thirty seconds as it swings right back to where it started. It is the little moments such as that one, that make Slint who they are and great at what they do musically.
Well as if the whole album was not dark enough, “Good Morning, Captain” kind of eclipses everything else. There are darker albums and songs produced by different artists, but the likes of this song and album alike could easily become a soundtrack to a stalker/serial killer-esque movie. During this song, the tension slowly builds with each chord (that can be deceiving as to whether the final blast will eventually come) and then dissipates until the final momentous blows of the guitar and vocal screams. It is almost as if he signs like when it is urgent piece of the ongoing puzzle, and the greatest part is this
is the final piece. It is a story that builds with each passing song and eventually erupts emotionally with the last wail of, ‘I miss you.’ After the final thunderous chords of “Good Morning, Captain,” everything suddenly came together and the album struck pure brilliance.
The evolution of post-rock has come a far deal away from what people generally think it really is about with bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions in the Sky. Slint shows how what they started is limitless as to what direction post-rock can go and they began with a strong starting block. Slint’s Spiderland
will be one of those records that the people who know it, will remember it for a long time. Who the fu
ck are you anyway?