The impact Slint made with just two records grows with each passing year. It’s even more striking when you consider only one of those albums—1991’s Spiderland—gets most of that consideration. The Louisville four-piece’s silent masterpiece was released the same week as albums by Mr. Big and Roxette, and a full six months before the Nevermind explosion. Needless to say the record—released on the forward-thinking Touch and Go label—barely made a peep at the time.
So naturally, Spiderland is getting the deluxe box-set treatment in 2014. Some might even call it long overdue. This remastered version sweeps away some of the dust, but it’s not the first thing that will give you pause. Leave that to pondering how these baby-faced kids from Louisville put together an album that landed on another planet while they were likely aiming only for the Jefferson County line.
Spiderland still sounds fresh today, save for, perhaps, the classic ’90s snap of the snare. You’re not going to find songs more urgent and sinister than “Nosferatu Man” and the emblematic “Good Morning, Captain” with their spoken-word and hypnotic buildups, while “For Dinner…” and “Breadcrumb Trail” are driven more by silence than noisy explosions.
The extra goodies will intrigue, but there’s no danger of them overshadowing Spiderland’s core six cuts. Basement practice versions of songs like “Good Morning, Captain” and “Washer,” along with a handful of riff tapes, are welcome oddities for Slint disciples—3,138 of whom have already bought up this limited-edition box. In addition to the music, the set also includes Lance Bangs’ documentary Breadcrumb Trail, which chronicles the band and the making of the album, and a 104-page booklet with photos and a forward from Will Oldham (who also shot the record’s now-famous cover photo).
If you missed out on this reissue, the original record still offers an accurate snapshot of a band that would change music for years to come—even if it took a few years for most people to catch up with it. One thing is certain: Spiderland is a record that will sound just as exciting 20 years from now. Call it the gift that keeps on giving.