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Slint - Spiderland CD (album) cover




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4.12 | 132 ratings

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3 stars I might never have heard of this acclaimed but now defunct Kentucky quartet if they weren't featured here at Prog Archives. But after absorbing all the hype about the "unparalleled impact" of this supposed proto-Post Rock/Math Rock masterpiece, listening to the actual album was, quite frankly, an underwhelming experience. But then again, perhaps that's exactly what the band had in mind.

The music itself is often haunting in a spare, stripped-down sort of way. But if this is Math Rock, it's more on the level of a grade school primer, with time signatures stretching to odd meters of five or seven but never to anything more complicated (in other words: Henry Cow, they ain't).

Instead, it's the austere anti-Prog simplicity that makes the album so appealing, sounding like an impeccably produced garage band from backwoods Appalachia rehearsing on a dreary late autumn afternoon. The slowly strummed guitars erupt only occasionally onto fuzzed-out feedback, and the tentative vocals are typically heard in half-muttered spoken-word narratives, so quietly miked it's difficult to catch the actual words.

The album was released in 1991, and the band broke up soon afterward. No surprise there: the stark minimalism of their monochrome style was never very durable, and in the 40-some minutes of this one album the group all but exhausted its entire musical vocabulary.

Still, give them credit for being ahead of their time. The half dozen songs here evoke an almost palpable mood of inertia and melancholy better suited to our own collapsing 21st century economy, making the album the perfect soundtrack for times of quiet desperation.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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