Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (Merge, 1998)

Neutral Milk Hotel is essentially a one man band consisting of Jeff Mangum. But don’t expect any lo-fi Sebadoh bullshit. It’s a rare indie rock album that actually sweeps your emotions into a place where The Who, The Small Faces’ Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, The Flaming Lips and psychedelic marching bands coexist in a stomping mystical church revival breakdown. The lyrics are too obtuse to decipher when examined closely, but when heard the way it’s supposed to be, they evoke a rush of early Bob Dylan intensity, and you know exactly what feelings are being expressed. It’s amazing when you realize such a grand-sounding statement was created with mainly an acoustic guitar, with a little help from his friends on organ, flugelhorn, euphonium, singing saw, accordian, zanzithophone, trombone and milleann pipes. This is ambitious, majestic music.

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