Slint
Spiderland


5.0
classic

Review

by joshuatree USER (5 Reviews)
October 25th, 2007 | 33 replies


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dark and beautiful, Slint's second album is an influential classic.

Slint's Spiderland was released in 1991, along with other alternative rock monsters such as Pearl Jam's Ten, My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, and, what may be the seminal release of the Nineties, Nirvana's Nevermind. Spiderland is easily as influential as that grunge masterpiece, influencing not just post-rock and math-rock bands to follow, but later alternative rock innovators such as Radiohead and Wilco. Yet, mainly because the main genres this album has influenced maintain a certain obscurity, Spiderland gets none of the attention it deserves. With its haunting and fuzzed-out guitar lines and dark, avant-garde lyrics, mixed a certain mellowness despite the fuzzed noise coming from the guitars, Spiderland is completely unique, and completely influential.

Spiderland begins with the excellent Breadcrumb Trail, which wields a soft-loud progression similar to the more popular grunge bands around at the time. Singer Brian McMahan mumble-speaks for the soft parts, and the lyrics are dark and heavily descriptive. Everything seems to embody a dark ambience, despite the distorted guitar riffs making a hell of a lot of noise. The soft parts build and build, and act as if they're flinching from something, as if they don't want to meet the loud part. But when the progression is finally complete, the guitars reach a new level of distortion and McMahan screams like a man processed. Than, only seconds later, the song slows down back into the dreamy haze of the slow parts, and the progression begins again.

Nosferatu Man isn't a whole lot different, but it manages to pull off the seemingly impossible task of sounding darker and scarier than the first track. Nosferatu Man is more riff-based, with crunchy stoner-riffs accenting the jazzy drum patterns and McMahan's spine-tingling whispers. Unfortunately, these riffs do get somewhat repetitive, especially towards the end, which is basically five minutes of repeating fuzz. Good thing the next song is so excellent: Don, Aman is a morose, depressing track, with the vocals barely hearable and the repetitive guitar line sounding distant and alone, giving the song a lonely, desolate feeling. The song stays slow, dark, and almost empty for four and a half minutes until a brief guitar breakdown, which, instead of making Don, Aman more exciting and terrifying, increases the loneliness felt throughout the song. This brief moment of crunch condenses back into the slow emptiness, as if guitarist David Pajo quit midway through his solo and gave up, succumbing to the darkness.

Washer is the clearest example of McMahan actually singing, his voice approaching a dreamy high pitch that wobbles despite its cleanness. The song is an eight-minute stunner, and is both the epic and the highlight of the album. Beginning dreamily, McMahan indeed sings, yet sounds like he's in a trance while doing it. The simple guitar line mixed with the relatively simple singing takes you away, as you begin to fall into the same dreamlike state. And just when you're finally carried away into that dreamy, other-worldly consciousness...BAM. You're jolted back to life with a fuzzed-out guitar riff that, while not actually being loud, seems sonically bigger than anything else you've ever encountered.

After the epic that was Washer, how do you follow it up? Simple: Slint lures back into the dreamy, druggy state you were experiencing before you were rudely interrupted. For Dinner... is completely instrumental, and is even more desolate and simple than you could ever imagine. The actual sound of the guitar is so soft that, at times, you barely know if you're listening to a guitar line or not: sometimes you wonder if you're just imagining the repetitive sound. All this dreaminess leads to Good Morning, Captain, which, despite being nearly eight minutes long, is the most song-oriented track on Spiderland. The guitar manages to be loud enough for an actual riff to form, and, midway through, expands into a shoegazer-inspired breakdown that is so surprising that it seems louder than it actually is. The lyrics are cryptive and haunting, and actually sort of creepy. The song ends with McMahan screaming "I MISS YOU" like he's on fire, while the guitars churn out a grunge-y guitar riff. It's loud and simple, almost the exact opposite of what Spiderland really is.

And what is Spiderland? Despite me managing to fill five previous whole paragraphs about the album and its greatness, it's actually one of the toughest albums to describe...ever. The emotional value this album brings to me is impossible to put into words, and this same emotional value will definitely not reside in everyone. Hell, it won't reside in most people. But, for such an uncompromising album, it has managed to influence an entire new wave of artists, and influence a complete genre. And because of this, Slint's Spiderland is a surefire classic.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
Apocalyptic Raids
October 26th 2007


810 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

excellent album

plane
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2007


6100 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great work for a first review. Album is so good.

sgrevs
October 26th 2007


698 Comments


Great review, this album is very good. I'm listening to it right now.

Monticello
October 26th 2007


805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I seriously want this album.

ValiumMan
October 26th 2007


493 Comments


Strange, but I've never linked this with "grunge" even though it's the same period and it sounds a bit similar. This is a lot colder and very abstract, whereas grunge is more "emotional" or whatever.

Anyway, great album, good review.

francesfarmer
October 26th 2007


1477 Comments


Pretty boring review, you're going to have to check that vocabulary and tendency to be redundant. And this, " Yet, mainly because the main genres this album has influenced maintain a certain obscurity, Spiderland gets none of the attention it deserves." is untrue. Spiderland is legendary in the underground world and is usually given praise far beyond it's deserving amount. And post-rock and math-rock aren't too obscure, either.

Correction
October 26th 2007


188 Comments


Not worth it. I'm still developing a style, and plus I wrote this at 1:00 last night. Thanks fr not negging this though.This Message Edited On 10.26.07

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2007


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am yet to listen to this past Good Morning, Captain, which is my fault, but when I get the chance I'll be listening to this in full. I'm really intrigued by this album.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 26th 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wait so the only song you've heard is Good Morning, Captain? way to kill the suspense and effect of the album

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2007


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I know, I'm a horrible person, but I heard it was the best song on the album, so I listened to it first.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 26th 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you're officially on my shit list until further notice.

okay you're off it.

YDload
January 12th 2008


1207 Comments


hey c'mon, everyone listens to that song first. its the first Slint song that most people learn about.

i heard Good Morning Captain first and wasnt disappointed at all by the rest of the album. Nosferatu Man itself is nearly as good, gotta love that 5/4 verse.

Chewie
July 18th 2009


4533 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the speed up in Don, Amon is fucking mesmerizing, dunno wait to rate this yet.

Shrapnel94
July 18th 2009


2213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

rate it over nine thousaaaaaaand

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2009


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

never could get into this fully

Shrapnel94
July 18th 2009


2213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cuz ur a n00b

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 18th 2009


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

excuse me

Shrapnel94
July 18th 2009


2213 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You, my fair sir, r t3h nubz.

kitsch
July 18th 2009


5107 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

good morning, captain gives me chills

moderndaydrool
July 19th 2009


322 Comments


I can't really get into this either truth be told, although I have only listened to one
track.....through shitty computer speakers......and I was coming and going......



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