Sound — 10
About four months ago, my friend Bill (Incubus_SCIENCE here at UG) sent me one song he was listening to, by of all bands: Neutral Milk Hotel. I heard this one song, and the next day I went out and bought In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. You could overlook the lyrics entirely and be in love with the sound. It's probably hit or miss, but for me it was hit. It's very original indie. If I was forced to describe it, I'd say it sounds like a fairly talented acoustic singer-songwriter who doesn't want to do anything normal, from lyrics to instrumentation to song matter to the way the ideas get audiolly illustrated. Bagpipes, trumpets, acoustic guitars and what I can only guess are strange synth noises are bound on almost every track on this album. Basically, if you someone said "Neutral milk hotel is a sick band", and you didn't know what genre they were: the name sums it up. It's neutral milk hotel. They're out there.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are probably hit or miss as well, but they hit home for me. They go from strange tails about two headed boys to war stories in Poland to some odd subject matter about carrot-flowers. But even when they're strange, they seem to have deep meaning. From "Two headed boy part two", for example: "And in my dreams you're alive and you're crying / as your mouth moves in mine, soft and sweet / Rings of flowers round your eyes and / I'll love you for the rest of your life (when you're ready)". It's romantic, in a loving sense, and all of the lyrics have that same romantic qualtiy whether they're loving or not. They're compelling because of how they are told. The singer sounds like an Irish happy Jim Morrison and a Scottish-American sad Jack Johnson. I didn't hit the nail on the head there at all: he's deep voiced, not from around here, and he sticks out. His range may not be all that impressive, but his voice has got soul. And it's moving.
Overall Impression — 10
This is not for everyone. Heck, it's probably for very few. But if you find yourself tired of the standard formula writing, or the standard instrumentation, or the standard song ideas, Neutral milk hotel will blow your brains out and quick. It did with me. It went from being one catchy song Bill sent me, to one of my favorite albums of all time. I'd buy it again and again. And if someone stole it, I'd hunt them down and hurt them. Or share a drink with them because they're one of the few people I know, who shares the neutral milk hotel love.