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It's hard to pigeon-hole where the sound comes from - the other reviewers may do a better job than I will about describing precisely what it's like. The best way I can describe it, I think, is to say that it's discordantly beautiful. There's a near-riot of instruments battling each other for your attention, filling your ears with conflicting sounds but somehow coming out the other end in perfect harmony as they do so. It's also worth noting that it's far from your typically over-produced fare - nobody has spent three days tweaking the drum rhythms to get them precisely right so that they appeal to the widest cross-section of the target audience. Nobody has fiddled with sliders to get his voice spot onto each note. This is raw music, mainlining the melodies, the rhythms, and most of all the emotion straight from source. Joyous, sorrowful, imaginative, perceptive, evocative... it reaches inside you and yanks your soul awake and reminds you that you're alive. Like watching a flower grow in that fast-motion style that can make months pass in seconds - organic, natural, beautiful, and most of all full of the throb and pulse of Life with a capital L.
I just know that I think this is the best album I own, and probably will ever own, and that everybody I know who is fortunate enough to have found In The Aeroplane Over The Sea feels the same way. I don't know what Jeff Mangun did before this, and I don't know what he did after this. Very probably he never hit these heights, but right here on this little silver disc he produces a work of unique unrepeatable genius.
I stumbled across this page whilst browsing through Amazon and bought it on the strength of the short samples and good reviews. I was hooked from the moment I put it in my c.d player.
Jeff Mangum has made a truly amazing album from start to finish. Each song has fantastic lyrics delivered by Mangum with his perfect singing style. He is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished singer / songwriters I have heard for a long time.
It's so hard to describe in words just why this album is so good. The bouncing quick lyrics that fit so perfectly, catchy and melodious acoustic guitars on one track followed by quick lo-fi sounding guitar rock on the next. The lyrics on each song fit so well and make me just want to hear them over and over again. I could go on for a lot longer but I would advise you to buy this and find out for yourself, you won't be disappointed.
I am looking forward to receiving my copy of On Avery Island which I ordered soon after hearing In The Aeroplane over the sea.
I give this album 5/5 without hesitation. I am just disappointed it has been out for 7 years and I have missed out for this long.