Neutral Milk Hotel: Jeff Mangum ( vocals, guitar, organ, bass, drums, tapes, shortwave radio); Julian Koster (banjo, accordian, saw); Scott Spillane (trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone, euphonium); Jeremy Barnes (organ, drums).
Additional personnel: Michelle Anderson (Uilleann pipes); Marisa Bissinger (saxophone, flugelhorn); Rick Benejamin (trombone); Laura Carter (zanzithophone); Robert Schneider (piano, organ, bass, background vocals).
Neutral Milk Hotel leader Jeff Mangum is a popster who hears interstellar sounds as natural ingredients of his "pop." He was weaned with the inevitable four-track in his bedroom, schooled on a record collection stacked with John Cage and Captain Beefheart as well as the Beatles and the Kinks. There is an instant emotional intensity to Neutral Milk's music, and the seeds that were sewn on '96's lo-fi masterpiece ON AVERY ISLAND, bear an evolving fruit on IN THE AEROPLANE OVER THE SEA.
Mangum's psych-folk songwriter musings dominate the album's landscape. Confusion streams out in hallucinatory phrases, trying to outrace a manic acoustic guitar, which in turn propels a band whose general sound is a four-track, punked-up version of Tom Waits' RAIN DOGS outfit. Brass-heavy instrumentals akin to ambient, bayou funeral dirges skitter by. At times, sunny pop emerges from the busy squall , as on the title track. Occasionally, the squall itself latches onto a melody, exploding with Flaming Lips-like ferocity. All of it suggests that while Neutral Milk's grasp on inherent truths (musical and otherwise) is wholly unstable, its quest for them is a wonder to behold.
- Genre: Pop
- Released: 11/03/2009
- Format: Vinyl