Post-rock icons Slint hit the road again for Spiderland reissue tour
Founding members Brian McMahan and David Pajo admit comeback tours are purely for the fans
In a time before Mogwai walked the post-rock earth, there was Slint. One of those groups whose commercial returns never came anywhere near matching their immense influence on future generations of musicians – their 1991 album Spiderland is regarded as an underground classic today, but sold less than 5000 copies on its initial run – the Louisville, Kentucky quartet and their doomy, brooding guitar compositions have been cited by all from Glasgow’s finest to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Rós as a year zero point of inspiration.
It’s entirely retrospective business on this latest reformation – their third to date, following stints in 2005 and 2007 – in support of a new reissue of Spiderland. Founder members Brian McMahan and David Pajo both admit that they do comeback tours by popular demand more than for personal gratification – it’s less an opportunity for them to bask belatedly in the glow of their magnum opus than it is a chance for fans to experience live a group who had already split by the time their defining work was released.
Mythology has retrospectively coloured much about Spiderland – legend has it some members wound up institutionalised after its making (McMahan did indeed suffer a mental breakdown). But where there was darkness, there was humour and kinship too. Has there ever been a more emotive promo photo of a band than that on Spiderland’s cover – a blurry black-and-white shot of four half-grinning heads poking from the shimmering surface of a lake, a perfect portrait of teenage precociousness and innocence? If Slint make you nostalgic for anything, it’s an age when a bunch of kids from nowheresville could redefine guitar music without even knowing they were doing it.
The Arches, Glasgow, Fri 15 Aug.