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In the Aeroplane Over the Sea [VINYL]
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Neutral Milk Hotel were part of the esteemed Athens, Georgia psychedelic Elephant 6 collective, which was also home to Olivia Tremor Control & Apples In Stereo. Shunning the mainstream and performing rarely to the dismay of fans meant that 'Aeroplane…' never received its due exposure. Acknowledged by indie cognoscenti as a lost classic, its scope & influence can be traced from the macabre tones of the Arcade Fire ("'In the Aeroplane Over the Sea' is one of the most completely inspiring rock records I've ever heard… everytime I finish listening to it I feel like I've lived through something I'll never quite understand, something really big.' Ben Reed Parry of the Arcade Fire), to the exploratory journeys of Anticon/Mush crew - "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea is absolutely the most inspiring album, lyrically, that I have ever heard Jeff Mangum's lyrics are the closest anyone has ever come to putting my dreams into music. I don't know what else to say, other than this is the one album I would take on a deserted island if I had only one choice" - Boom Bip
Top Customer Reviews
The album is ostensibly a collection of songs inspired by events in World War II and particularly about treatment of Jews and Anne Frank in particular. If this sounds a bit heavy don't worry - musically this work is superbly bright and inventive whilst lyrically it is both fantastically provocative and profound.
Whilst based around the acoustic guitar playing of Mangum, the music benefits from multilayered instumentation including some excellent brass. The pace varies from the slow but heartfelt "Communist Daughter" and "Oh Comely" to the fast rock of "King of Carrot Flowers, Pts 2 and 3" via jazzy interludes of "Holland, 1945". Standout tracks are "Two Headed Boy", "King of Carrot Flowers" and "In the Aeroplane Over The Sea". However all of the tracks here are excellent. Wherever you look on this album there is inventiveness and originality. You can see how this may have influenced later artists as varied as Arcade Fire and Sufjan Stevens.
A wonderful discovery. A definite buy for anyone who likes good music.
10/10. This is by a long way my favourite album. In the few years since I wrote this I really think it's discovery has in many ways affected me and the way I've lived my life. It awakened a passion for music I didn't really know was there. Truly a one off.
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.
But I don't know what it is about all of these things coming together that immobilises me from start to finish, unable to think outside the sounds presented to me. Upon first listening I left this album exhausted and with tears in my eyes. It's simply an overwhelmingly significant piece of music, every song being distinct and memorable with enough worthwhile content to write a review ten times the length of this for each one. If by and chance you could like this album then you owe it to yourself to buy it and make sure, because you may be missing out on something that could be very special to you.
8 years on from that back-packing trip, after keeping In the Aeroplane Over the Sea in a holding pattern on the "must buy albums" radar, I finally succumbed to its burgeoning cult status and bought a copy last month.
I think I'm not alone in that I too experienced a tipping-point whereby the hitherto catterwaul of Jeff Magnum's voice, the falling-down-the stairs brass section and seemingly unfussy production suddenly became a majestic and beautiful suite of tunes. The melodies stick like glue and the lyrics, possibly plucked from David Lynch's notepad, are deeply moving. You are probably aware of the Anne Frank storyline and some of the imagery evoked by Magnum's lyrics is a million miles away from the usual pap found in chart twaddle.
If you do buy it, please give it time and be sure to listen to it end-to-end. My only regret is not giving this amazing record permission to land a good few years earlier.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I only learned of this album about a month ago and after listening to it on recommendation on Youtube (repeatedly) I knew I had to own it. Read morePublished 2 months ago by M. Moore
As a person with eclectic tastes I read a lot of the reviews for this album and on the strength of the masses of positive feedback I decided to take a punt. Read morePublished 3 months ago by MR R.
Arrived well within time . its a gift so i wont know if it is ok until the recipient has played itPublished 8 months ago by modgirl1970
Something about this album is just on another level, whether it's the abstract lyrics, raw vocals, or conceptual grandeur, Nmh created something I've never heard anything like... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ben Fenton
This album is truly a masterpiece. It is definitely one of those in which you discover more meaning and depth with every listen. Read morePublished 18 months ago by William P.