Slint
Spiderland


5.0
classic

Review

by derho USER (31 Reviews)
November 14th, 2012 | 19 replies


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chilling, engrossing, unlike anything you've ever heard. A true experience.

When I first gave this album a listen, I just plain wasn't in to it. I was opening up shop at my job, going about my routine as the distant screams of Breadcrumb Trail's "hook" section assaulted my ears. Half of it was bad timing, half of it was not wanting to accept hype (which I perceived as pretension). Now, trying to appreciate Spiderland in such a casual context seems like an insult. Weeks following, the various tunes (or lack thereof) from the album haunted me. I couldn't get them out of my head. I think I was in love before I even tried listening a second time.

I don't know quite where to start on the analysis of this album. The tip-toeing guitar lines, simplicity-feigning complexity, evoke Television's Marquee Moon, while the sparse, almost tangible sharpness of the album's production harkens back to days of the British art-punks. The pulsing, pounding, endlessly fascinating rhythms hint at an appreciation of the German underground, and blistering fuzz trails ground the album amongst its contemporaries in the burgeoning grunge, shoegaze, and post-hardcore scenes. Despite the apparent feeds of influence, never let anyone tell you they've found an album that sounds "kind of like Spiderland." No. This is one of those rare albums that creates for the listener a world so unique that it will never be replicated. In a way, Spiderland inverts the kind of ambient sound-saturating of Eno and Klaus Schulze (that which My Bloody Valentine was busy drenching in glorious feedback), presenting itself as the hell to Music for Airports' sterile heaven. In place of ubiquitous warmth, we have cold sparseness, and soothing is replaced with that feeling of consistent tension when one is sitting in a slightly uncomfortable chair.

No vocalist this side of Alan Vega can make the nervous look over their shoulder the way Brian McMahan can. While Vega shook us with a screech that sounded like, if I may, a killer martian ghost dolphin, McMahan relies on far fewer vocal acrobatics to similar affect. Take, for instance, the bracing opener, Breadcrumb Trail. Somewhere in his deadpan delivery of the naive romance between a carnival-goer and a fortune teller, McMahan convinces us to question every single word coming out of his mouth, and the very images he evokes when he roars over the guitars, turning the ascent of a roller coaster into a rapturous cyclone of uncertainty.

The structure of the lyrics resonates throughout the album: no beginning, no end. We arrive, not quite knowing all the details, and leave before everything, or really, anything, is tied up. In the confusion, we are forced to grasp on to the small, otherwise insignificant moments. The child, white-faced, closes the blinds in the climax of the epic Good Morning Captain. In the end of Don, Aman, Don sees his friend in the mirror and knows "what he must do". We are left stranded, like McMahan's characters, helpless to the power of the jagged narratives. It's all quite off-puttingly candid and blunt, whether you consider the careful turns of phrase or the painstakingly placed slashes guitar. You're sitting in a room with a band of engimas while they tell horror stories to the music of a real life twilight zone. And afterwards you have to endure their stares while the weight of their words sinks slowly further and further into your mind. Do not neglect this album. Give it your full attention. You will not be disappointed.

10/10



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user ratings (1221)
Chart.
4.4
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
zxlkho
November 14th 2012


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am commenting because there's no comments. Cool review, awesome album.

CaptainDooRight
November 14th 2012


30334 Comments


yea

pos

DrMaximus
November 14th 2012


9957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. I didn't like this on first listen as well.

Flagran12
November 14th 2012


65 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review. I completely agree that this is a tough album to get into initially.

FourthReich
November 14th 2012


18136 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

awesome review one of the most unique albums i have ever listened to...

bakkermaarten007
November 20th 2012


3687 Comments


Massive album.

derho
November 20th 2012


307 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I wish I could write a review of this album forever

evilford
November 20th 2012


22987 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice review pos'd best album ever agreed

sixdegrees
November 20th 2012


17710 Comments


great review.

brilliant album ofc

Digging: Sputnik - Christmas At Our House

oltnabrick
December 6th 2013


31573 Comments


^ dam

FourthReich
December 6th 2013


18136 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

you're bumpin spiderland threads, you must be jamming it then, you dig it?

evilford
December 6th 2013


22987 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Album Rating: 3.0

great review.

brilliant album ofc"

riiiiiiiiiiight


FourthReich
December 6th 2013


18136 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

sup red

evilford
December 6th 2013


22987 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

hey nm u?

FourthReich
December 6th 2013


18136 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

man idk i just jam and go to school these days

DrMaximus
December 6th 2013


9957 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sounds awesome, Reich.

evilford
December 6th 2013


22987 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

eh same p much but it's work n jam

FourthReich
December 6th 2013


18136 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

nice av you big motherfucker max

VinVal
August 1st 2014


980 Comments


this reminds me of botch for some reason

Digging: Sigh - Ghastly Funeral Theatre



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