SLINT - SPIDERLAND

SLINT - SPIDERLAND

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Released: 17/05/2024

In attempting to understand just why the legendary Louisville, Kentucky band Slint’s 1991 second, and final, album Spiderland is just so darned good, two thoughts struck me: first, while there are other formidable bands in their extended peer group (Don Caballero, et al) who took the drums/bass/electric guitar foundations of rock/hardcore/metal and attempted to do something fresh with them, through breakneck tempo changes, atypical rhythmical metres, harmonic dissonance, and the like, it is only Slint who managed to evoke a feeling that they were twisting the facets of the genres into a kind of Möbius strip – a non-orientable surface in which form and content continually vie for primacy. The tracks are thrillingly amporphus; figure and ground bleed continually into one another; standard verse-chorus structures are jettisoned wholesale. Second, and not to be underestimated, is Brian McMahan’s spoken-word vocal delivery. Often low in the mix, he sounds less like a rock frontman and more like a hard-boiled detective ad-libbing a film noir voice-over – a crucial factor in Spiderland’s sounding inherently of the night, to the extent that if you listen to it the day time you might have an overwhelming urge to close the curtains. Spiderland is haunting, unsettling, cathartic – and utterly spellbinding.