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On Avery Island

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Album Review

Like their Elephant 6 labelmates and kindred spirits Olivia Tremor Control's Music From the Unrealized Film Script, Dusk at Cubist Castle, Neutral Milk Hotel's debut, On Avery Island, is an inscrutable concept album, a chronicle of an insular world told in a remarkably universal language. A fuzzy masterpiece of experimental lo-fi recording, the album wraps its ragged pop songs in ribbons of loops, marching-band squawks, and Casio noodling; the opener, "Song Against Sex," is as much a manifesto as a kickoff, a self-propelled marvel hopped up on rapid-fire wordplay and a stunningly ramshackle melody punctuated by bloated trombone moans. Throughout the record, Jeff Mangum's wheels threaten to fly off at any time — his songs are cryptic and crazed, his ideas fast and furious, and together they force the home-recording concept out of the basement and into a brave new world.

Customer Reviews

Neutral Milk Hotel is ALWAYS spectacular ;D

If you're an actual NMH fan you'll love this album... Jeff Mangum is a genius.

Biography

Formed: 1989 in Athens, GA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

The self-described "fuzz-folk" project Neutral Milk Hotel was one of the primary outgrowths of the Elephant 6 Recording Company collective, a coterie of like-minded lo-fi indie groups -- including the Apples in Stereo, the Olivia Tremor Control, and Secret Square -- who shared musicians, ideas, and sensibilities. While ranging in sound and concept from solo acoustic work to full-band performances, Neutral Milk Hotel essentially remained the work of Jeff Mangum, a singer/songwriter from the remote...
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