Spiderland might be the most auspicious sophomore album ever. The Louisville foursome had broken up months ahead of its 1991 release, going separate ways to focus on side projects. In the decades since then, the once obscure album has picked up its own cult, prompting a brief run of reunion shows throughout this century, and, of course, this reissue. Three hunks of 180-gram vinyl, a picture book with a forward by collaborator Will Oldham, 14 previously unreleased outtakes and demos, and a documentary detail the creation of the album and the career arc of Slint in general. Spiderland itself remains a wasteland, a bleak, undead sulk of spindling guitar and hollow percussion. Seven-minute conclusion "Good Morning, Captain" constitutes a main talking point, Brian McMahan's bizarre, spoken-word fairy tale wrapping around an oppressive death march. And yet, when you page through the book you'll see smiling faces, kids having fun recording in the studio. It's as if this box set wants to prove Slint was human, not just a faceless menace that cut a record lost to time and circumstance, worthy of celebration and also fitting neatly in a box.
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