ROBOTS & ELECTRONIC BRAINS

Neutral Milk Hotel @ Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Stuart Hall would've loved this: It's a Musical Knockout as the big man with the beard plays the tuba and the trumpet in a revolving brass section before stumbling across the stage, avoiding the chap leaping between the singing saw and the bass guitar and ducking under the flying drumsticks to get to the mini saxaphone and join in with the next song as 15 new band members run on from the opposite side. Calling it organised chaos would be unkind, but this is considerably looser than the balanced noise of the records. Jeff Mangum is the leader, thrashing away on his semi-acoustic and carrying the tunes with his psychedelirium lyrics while melody comes from the occasional keyboard or bowed saw. The result is like the Beach Boys tackling Brian Wilson's neuroses with copious quantities of narcotics and a ferret in their underpants.
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