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Speakers' corner
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machine

Following up our retroscope series of 2006 and last year's SC series - here's a new Speakers' corner! Luna Kafé's focused eye on great events, fantastic happenings, absolute milestones, or other curious incidents from the history of rock. This moonth we take a look 10 years back in time: the year of Neutral Milk Hotel's a.m.a.z.i.n.g. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.

coverpic Neutral Milk Hotel
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
Merge Records

On February 10th it was 10 years ago since Neutral Milk Hotel released their fabulous second album, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. 10 years might not be the most golden of jubilees, but this album is one of the landmark albums of American indie, 'modern rock' of the twisted, psychedelic folk kind. Becoming a classic almost instantly, it has just aged perfectly. I guess it will do so forever, with its grace, excellence, maturity - and a perfect bouquet. Bouquet as in fragrance of a brilliant wine, or as 11 songs in a most spectacular cluster of flowers. 10 years young and a vintage record it is.

In The Aeroplane... is Jeff Mangum's 'magnum opus' (even though On Avery Island is a very, very good recording as well). Sadly enough it also seems that In The Aeroplane... has become some sort of a 'swan song' for him. Another lost genius retiring too early? Fingers crossed for a blasting comeback. Well, anyway, the songs and the album lives on, and it still is as mind-blowing as it was the first time I heard it. Unfortunately I missed the 2 times Neutral Milk Hotel visited Oslo (stupid me was out of town), and that still is an aching thought. I've been told about the live spectacular NMH were. You can check a funny live review here.

Enough is said about the record. Just do as me: pull out the record and play it all over again, and again, and again... From start to end. Track one through eleven: "The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. One", "The King of Carrot Flowers Pts. Two & Three", "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea", "Two-Headed Boy", "The Fool", "Holland, 1945", "Communist Daughter", "Oh Comely", "Ghost", "Untitled", "Two-Headed Boy Pt. Two". Hail Jeff Mangum, and his players: Jeremy Barnes, Scott Spillane, Julian Koster. Hail producer and creative sidekick Robert Schneider, and the Pet Sounds Studio at the home of Jim McIntyre. Hail the other contributing players and artists as well: Laura Carter, Rick Benjamin, Marisa Bissinger, Michelle Anderson, Chris Bilheimer, Brian Dewan. But, first and foremost: hail In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, being the amazingly graceful album it is. It's a record filled with sadness, joy, hope, wisdom, soul, magic... Everything you can imagine. And more.

Copyright © 2008 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Neutral Milk Hotel articles/reviews: On Avery Island, Roundhouse, London, UK, May 22. + 23. 2014.

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