Slint – Spiderland.

In March, 1991, Slint released what would be their 2nd and final album Spiderland. The album has passed me by all these years. Late last week I listened to it for the first time. I’ve given it seven full listens in three days and am playing it again right now at time of writing. It is an incredible record.

Spiderland was recorded in 4 days and is produced by Brian Pulson. The bands only other (and previous album, 1989) was produced by Steve Albini (Tweez). 

What hit me straight away about Spiderland is how much it shows its clear influences yet at the same time does something almost totally new. Almost perversely it is that Post Albini (Big Black era) sound that pushes the band into what is almost a totally new genre (well, new in 1991 that would be).

Tension. Monotone. Cold. Bookish. Sharp. Yet, oh so warm and that joyous sound of youth ripping up the rule book. Slint are a unit as one. Fearless. Determined and pure. I really can’t get across how much I’m loving this album right now. For some reason listening to Spiderland makes me want to type R.E.M, Husker Du, Sonic Youth, Fugazi, The Fucking Champs… then scratch my head and actually wonder if they are above them bands with this album?

Those quiet moments of music. At times barely audible. Wandering off the traditional rock route with totally natural ease always waiting… waiting for them slabs of wig-out and unity full on force.

Spiderland consists of just 6 songs. Nosferatu Man (the second song) with that unison riff. Did Husker Du even do this as well? Damn, I really shouldn’t even think yet alone type that. Spiderland is like a perfect Metal Circus, and Metal Circus is practically flawless. Don, Aman with that hush spoken vocal quietly creeping. Building with organic power. Listening to it actually feels like you are in the studio with them. It feels like Big Black minus the tornado. The calm after the storm. Threat. It holds off. Quiet, Loud, Quiet, yet this is a world away from Grunge. For Dinner similarly builds like an organic machine. Robotic yet full of feeling. Like pistons it builds and releases, like the very best of early Sonic Youth without the needless wanking. Sheer purity.

Good Morning Captain is Lo-Fi heaven. Is this a book or the best album of the 90’s? I’m confused and under a spell. An album of near equal depth and substance the final song somehow raises the bar higher. As guitar, bass and drums finally slot together Spiderland goes somewhere completely new. Respectfully it glances sideways at Grunge and blanks it. It’s soul is in the same place. You feel, as a listener, like an intruder. Slint stare back… it feels warm, but you sense the danger, is this theirs and not ours? A marvellous album…

spiderland

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