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WRC Month 1 Reviews

We bring this meeting of the wookplus record club to order. Kevin and Llama have listened to their assigned albums and written their respective reviews early, so we are going to publish them early.

In addition to that, we are going to have a thanksgiving record for everyone to listen to over the holiday break. But wait, there's more @skoisirius has joined in on the fun and will be recommending an album too.

Be sure to let us know what you thought of the albums on Twitter @wookplus.


Kevin's Review

Llama suggested we try and expand our horizons musically by giving each other hither-to-unlistened albums to check out and drop some thoughts. My first was Neutral Milk Hotel’s Aeroplane Over The Sea, and here are my notes after three listens. Sometimes I will judge a band by its fans, dismissing a work because it is easier to say, 'that is too cool for me' or 'they aren't my people, that can't be my music when in reality, a chance given can sometimes help you find a gem. And with a name as pretentious as Neutral Milk Hotel, I went into this with some trepidation, luckily, it only skirted the pretentious, mostly through the lyrics and a bunch of reverb.

It wasn't at all what I expected, and from the opening of "King of Carrot Flowers Part 1" with its acoustic dream-like space, I knew this was something that would have gems if I was willing to look. What I found was a deep honesty that runs through the album, pain bared for all to see while offering solace in that. Yep, I can see my teenage self in lines like "semen stains the mountaintops."

The juxtaposition of acoustic guitar, wire-thin vocals, and horns work to fantastic effect for the most part without becoming self-indulgent, even as the lyrics often do.

My favorites are "The King of Carrot Flowers" (all three parts), “Holland, 1945”, and “Ghost.”

I can hear how this influenced a wide swath of newer artists from Sufjan Stevens to The Decemberists.

I am not sure if this album is one I will play again or if my life is better or worse for listening, but it is a fascinating snapshot that deserves a few spins.


Llama's Review

Let me start this by stating that my knowledge of Genesis is limited to the classic rock radio staples. I definitely remember “I Can’t Dance” and that one other song that I’ll know if I hear it. Regardless the Genesis I sort of know is nothing like what is on this record. I don’t think I have ever heard Peter Gabrial sing on a Genesis song. It’s like a completely different band. Gut reaction, I like Phil Collin’s classic rock radio Genesis more.

This album has the same vibes as Smashing Pumpkin’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Both have really bright spots that get dulled down by the excess surrounding them. (Also, both albums have songs about being in a cage.) The band could have trimmed the album down to an hour, and it would be a much better album. They can start by cutting “The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging.” I hate the transition into that song from “In the Cage.”

Listening to this album showed me where Coheed and Cambria got some of their influences. Maybe I would have enjoyed this album when I was younger, back when an excess of everything always seemed like a good choice. The musical flourishes are what really save the album; I would buy an instrumental version. At times the album feels too grandiose for it’s own good.

Is Peter Gabrial a theatre kid at heart? I can almost see this as a legit Broadway musical. I’m kinda surprised it hasn’t been adapted for the stage yet. If they can make a Spider-Man musical, surely they can make something happen with this album because, truth be told, I need visuals to understand everything in this story fully.

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