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Friday, May 7, 2010

Semen stains the mountaintops

Neutral Milk Hotel are perfect.
Jeff Mangum’s voice is warm and wobbling, as if he’s so loaded with emotion he may burst into tears at any second. The lyrics are evocative and eloquent, weaving a rich tapestry of tales that are dark and beautiful, a sentiment particularly fitting when considering that “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” is a concept album with the tragic life of Anne Frank as its subject matter.

Neutral Milk Hotel is sheer feeling permeating experimental acoustic symphony. I sometimes wonder what fate would have been assigned to their eclectic indie folk had if they had taken the support slot on an R.E.M tour in ’98, if they had taken up any requests for shows, if the impassioned, introspective, but ultimately delicate Jeff Mangum hadn’t completely wilted in a winter of discontent after a year of touring.

It’s unlikely that Mangum will tour or record again, and I hope it remains that way, that he remains a perfectly preserved folk fairy tale, with a legacy of exquisite but scant records. Last night in New York, he played some songs from those records at a Chris Knox benefit; “Oh Comely”, “A Baby for Pree/Where You’ll Find Me Now”, “Two Headed Boy Pt. 2”, “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”, “Engine”

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