Neutral Milk Hotel – “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” review

2 years after their solid debut album On Avery Island, Louisiana indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel decided to give us one last full-length project & that very same last full-length project right here ended up being one of the greatest albums ever made. The album kicks off with the track The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1 where frontman Jeff Mangum sings about this girl he likes & the girl’s parents eventually committing suicide over a catchy played acoustic guitar & a beautifully incorporated accordion. The next track The King of Carrot Flowers, Pts. 2 & 3 where Jeff talks about “finding himself again” over what seems to be an accordion fitting for a funeral but then it transitions to this visceral punk-ish electric guitar/drums & there’s even a trumpet about halfway through the track. The title track is essentially about cherishing every moment & 2-Headed Boy seems to be about being free from this jar. The sole acoustic guitar performance on this track really brings the ambition to life. The Fool is just a short 2-minutes instrumental that I can imagine hearing after a victorious battle & Holland, 1945 is yet another punk-ish tune that even Jeff Mangum said numerous times is about Anne Frank (who is rumored be the main source of inspiration throughout the entire album). And although the song Communist Daughter is a somber sex ode, I will say that the “semen stains the mountain tops” line still cracks me up to this very day. After that, it follows up with the emotional apologetic Oh Comely & then Ghost is essentially about (presumably) Anne Frank living on forever. The penultimate track [untitled] is an energetic bagpipe incorporated rock instrumental that leads us to the final track; a follow up to 2-Headed Boy. Although it doesn’t feature a beautiful solely played acoustic guitar like the original track, it’s still a fantastic way to close out the album because it’s got an overall melancholy vibe to it. I honestly don’t think there will ever be another album like this. The cryptic lyrics are very well written, the psychedelic folk instrumentation is beautiful/sad, the passion is clearly there in both of the elements I previously mentioned & the lo-fi recording really brings these depressing themes out. If you’re looking to get into indie rock, this is the go-to album in my personal opinion

Score: 5/5

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