Spiderland Review

artist: Slint date: 06/28/2013 category: compact discs
Slint: Spiderland
Released: Mar 27, 1991
Genre: Post-rock
Label: Touch and Go
Number Of Tracks: 6
Quiet, restrained and tasteful, the musicians work cohesively throughout without ever getting self-indulgent, and avoiding the cliches that associate progressive music.
 Sound: 9.5
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 10
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reviews (2) 2 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.7
Spiderland Reviewed by: TheRealEffect, on june 28, 2013
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Want a word to describe this album? Atmospheric. Behind every single paper thin clean guitar that reminds one of ship bells as shown in "Good Morning, Captain," to the dooming floor toms of the depressing "Washer," "Spiderland" has made it very clear that these 40 minutes of music are not happy. Slint uses a variety of techniques to create this haunting atmosphere that took the music world, or maybe just me, by storm. Dynamics were used to great effect in "Spiderland" as it keeps us on our toes, never knowing whether the next second could be a small interlude or a harsh dissonant noise of a guitar as shown in "Nosferatu Man." Remind us of a particular genre associated with atmosphere? Post rock. And yet not so. Smart song-writing. Using natural harmonics to create building tension in "Good Morning, Captain?" Genius. The perfect dissonant chord in "Washer?" Chilling to the bones. Slint's sound in this album was innovative to the post-rock genre by utilising the manipulation of atmosphere to a new extent, and perhaps in the most simplest ways. A drum set, electric guitar, bass guitar, and a microphone was all that was needed. And yet they managed to create something truly special that will never be forgotten. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics, if anyone can understand without the words in front of them, is actually another strong aspect of "Spiderland"'s innovative sound. While the sound alone might send chills to your spine and goosebumps on your skin, once you truly understand what Brian is singing about, those goosebumps may never go away. Alienation. Loneliness. Stranded at sea. These are the themes that are constantly showcased in the lyrics, fully supported by the haunting atmosphere. Brian does well to deliver these words into the song, going from a dull monotone speaking voice in "Good Morning, Captain" to an aggressive shout all in the same song, while singing a soft head voice in "Washer." However, these lyrics often take a backseat behind the more prominent music, as the vocals for Brian aren't quite clear. While others may say it will ruin the atmosphere of the music, I'd say it would be nice to be comprehensible at times. But at the same time, this "negative" once again contributes to the themes. Brian is not supposed to be delivering these lines happily. Which brings the score still high up in the '90s. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall, this album is a must have for any music lover of all genres. It is a shame that "Spiderland" is not mentioned enough in discussions, as Slint's innovative sound inspired the sound of many post-rock acts such as Mogwai and other indie acts. I'd say that "Good Morning, Captain" is Slint's "Stairway to Heaven," as it is essentially a perfect track that is a must listen. What I love most about this album is the dynamic atmosphere that fits the grim theme of "Spiderland" like a glove. There are very little things I hate. The only thing that irks me is a more clear delivery of lines from Brian, but really, it's a matter of taste. Some may say it contributes to the sound, and that may be true as well. Overall, it's a must-listen, as once you press play on "Breadcrumb Trail," you may find yourself dazing off into the distance of a foggy sea horizon as the drift into the black and white sea. // 10

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overall: 9.3
Spiderland Reviewed by: ParasiticTwins, on june 07, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: In a world of genres pushing boundaries, taking technical ability beyond anything heard before and tempo's that seem infeasible, it would be easy to completely miss the point of Slint all together. Slint are undoubtedly a Post-Rock band, arguably among the first. Quiet, restrained and tasteful, the musicians work cohesively throughout without ever getting self-indulgent, and avoiding the cliches that associate progressive music. Using the quiet/loud dynamics usually associated with more brash Grunge bands of the time, Slint are able to turn lush soundscapes into harsh, distorted noise, creating some powerful climaxes, such as the "I miss you..." ending of 'Good Morning, Captain'. // 9

Lyrics: Brain McMahan's vocals contain the kind of subtlety rarely found in modern rock albums; frequently shifting between mumbled poetry and storytelling, right through to throat-shredding screams, the honesty that shines through is really something to behold. Not a word is lost throughout the whole album, which the listener is thankful for; eschewing the instrumental style of many bands within the genre they helped pioneer, instead raw human emotion drifts through your speakers, complimenting the instrumentation perfectly; this would sadly go on to be disingenuously by countless, faceless Emo bands pedalling angst disguised as reflection. // 9

Overall Impression: It's easy to get caught up in the hype when an album seems to have defined a genre, but even with that added kudos this record still stands as a meticulously crafted and emotionally draining experience. After the band imploded in 1991, Post-Rock found new leaders in the form of Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Explosions In The Sky, among countless others. Whilst the technical prowess of the genre has increased unendingly since Spiderland, the album still has a feel of true innovation and beauty surrounding it. // 10

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