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Eight-legged gloom machine
on 10 January 2004
I bought "Spiderland" on the same day as Codeine,s "Frigid Stars". If you are one of those less enlightened people who equate "depressing music" with being depressed that you,d have thought that was a real bummer of a day. On the contrary i was as happy as Robbie Williams in front of a full length mirror. Two stone cold classics in one day. Memories are made of this.
"Spiderland" shares "Frigid Stars" same wracked emotional landscape but is if anything even more bereft of hope.Skeletal guitars which are fleshed out by sudden squalls of caustic noise adorn this album. The sound is stark and unembellished. The vocals are mostly spoken in a tired resigned voice,dry as autumn leaves after an Indian summer.When the torpor is lifted by guitars that squeal like a stuck pig or the vocals rise to a pitiful howl its startling.
Never is this more superbly illusrated than on the albums undoubted highlight "Good Morning Captain" A plangent guitar motif gives way to a precise rolling drunbeat.The voice is innervated,bled of all emotion. The guitars occasionally morph into discordant streams of uncluttered noise. Then at the songs epoch they surge and seethe and the vocallist screams, and i mean really screams....a howl of such pain and anguish it travels up your spine like a bullet.I kid you not, it,s one of the greatest moments in the history of recorded music.
Needless to say it,s worth owning this album for that track alone and it,s one tiny problem is that nothing else comes near to matching it. In terms of consistency "Frigid Stars" is actually the superior work but at these elevated levels of artistry it,s fairly irrelevant."Spiderland"is a landmark release and listening to it again for the first time in a long time for the purposes of this review has been a draining experience.It remains with you long after the last note has faded and that is the mark of all truly great music.