Noisy, powerful, poetic, cryptic, despairing, chaotic, ironic and raw, nothing sounded quite like Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea at the time of its release, and nothing has sounded quite like it ever since. The album kicks off with the acoustic opening of "The King of Carrot Flowers, pt. 1" and the creaky, impassioned vocals of songwriter Jeff Mangum, then bursts into the distorted electric guitar of "Carrot Flowers" pts. 2-3 and the title track, and we're off to the races. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is lo-fi indie rock at its core, but its elaborate sound incorporates influences from as far afield as Eastern European folk music and Brazilian Tropicália, and makes good use of Scott Spillane's resounding brass and Julian Koster's singing saw, banjo and accordion underneath the grungy guitar. Since its release, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea has gained a massive cult following bit by bit, and its significance to the music that came in its wake has grown more and more crucial with each new round of re-discovery. This enigmatic album can't be missed.