Into the top 10 of my 379 to 50 top songs list with “Good Morning, Captain”, the dramatic climax to Slint’s post-rock gothic masterpiece “Spiderland”.
Slint’s second and final LP “Spiderland” was released in 1991, just after they dissolved as a band. A real slow-burner, the album’s popularity and influence has gently built through the years, initially via 90s word of mouth and then later online, but always with the same magical allure for new converts. “Spiderland” is an album that nobody really “likes” – rather, people love this record, are obsessed by it or else “Spiderland”’s charms seem to pass them by completely; and this is an album that you need to live with for a while to truly revere. A beguilingly unique record that “reinvented rock” according to the Guardian, the mystique regarding how four young blokes barely out of their teens could make such a powerfully complex album (which was recorded over one solitary weekend) grew over the years, further embellished by an excellent 33 1/3 book published in 2010. However, “Breadcrumb Trail”, a Slint documentary released in 2014 along with a “Spiderland” reissue and box set (accompanied by a 10.0 Pitchfork rating) humanised the band somewhat, portraying them as endearing, youthful pranksters which makes it even more puzzling how they managed to produce a musical statement as intensely emotional and sophisticated as “Spiderland”.
Enough myth making and rhapsodising, what actually makes “Spiderland” – and closing track “Good Morning, Captain – so special? Just 6 songs long, “Spiderland” has an atmospheric feel like no other record, evoking a cinematic remote Americana creepiness along with the nagging sense that something’s not quite right, years before The Blair Witch Project trod similar terrain in the film world. Frequently veering between hauntingly simple guitar motifs and post-hardcore riffola, overlaid with trademark spoken or sub-screamed storytelling vocals, “Spiderland” fluently creates its own world to really lose yourself in. The album’s dramatic tension reaches its climax with final track “Good Morning, Captain”, a perfect distillation of “Spiderland” with its initial chiming guitars building and building to a truly explosive cacophonous climax: “I’m sorry and I miss you…I MISS YOU…”
Brightening up one dull morning, I can still clearly remember excitedly reading an email announcing that Slint were reforming to headline and curate an ATP Festival in early 2005, which would be their first live performance since “Spiderland” was released. Sat at my office desk, I started shouting “yes, yes!” when reading the update – oddly my work colleagues didn’t greet the imminent return of these post-rock pioneers with as much excitement. When the day itself arrived at ATP, there was a real sense of awe and expectation as Slint took the stage, with the freezing February weather in Camber Sands helping to create an appropriately chilling sensation (it was really cold in the Pontins chalets that year…). Fortunately, Slint were spellbinding, managing to deliver a powerfully enigmatic set without dimming the magic of “Spiderland”. They’ve since toured twice more in 2007 and 2014, and were suitably entrancing both times.
VIDEOS AND OTHER STUFF
- “Good Morning, Captain” lyrics video on YouTube
- “Breadcrumb Trail” film trailer on YouTube
- “Breadcrumb Trail” complete film on You Tube
- Other great Slint songs that just missed out include: Breadcrumb Trail, Nosferatu Man, Washer, For Dinner.
- “Good Morning, Captain” is featured on my 379 to 50: 1 to 25 Spotify playlist
- Also featured on my 379: Indie O to Sm Spotify playlist
NEXT: NUMBER 9
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