Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

VEGA INTL. Night School | Neon Indian


Nearly 4 years after the release of the group’s last effort, Era Extraña, Neon Indian, the musical love-child of songwriter Alan Palomo, has finally released their highly anticipated third album, VEGA INTL. Night School.

Up to this point, Neon Indian has maintained a reputation as a lo-fi act. However, VEGA INTL. proves to be a real example of the band’s willingness to expand their sound and explore new sonic territories. On this record, the lo-fi aspect that established the band as heavy hitters in the chillwave scene was pretty much thrown away. Instead, the band’s newly refined sound has brought a whole new dimension to their already radiant style.

Not only is the mixing of the album cleaner, but the instrumentation and effects have changed quite a bit from the band’s earlier projects. Songs like “Annie” and “61 Cygni Ave” incorporate some interesting funk influenced guitar riffs driving the tracks . This is a refreshing alternative from the band’s usual instrumentation consisting of mainly synthesizers and drum machines. However, while on topic, the synthesizers and percussion on the album are the finest they’ve ever been on a Neon Indian release. On “Street Level”, Palomo is at his brightest when it comes to the synths on the record. The track starts off with an incredibly thick wonky bass synth accompanied by a laid back beat, painting an audio interpretation of the music almost melting or oozing (in the best way possible). The unique rhythm patterns on tracks like “The Glitzy Hive” and the additional percussion on track such as “Slumlord’s Re-lease”  also bring some interesting new textures to the record.

The best section of the album is by far around the halfway point, with the medley of “Slumlord”, its companion piece, “Slumlord’s Re-lease”, and the track that immediately follows, “Techno Clique”. “Slumlord” starts this section of with a nearly 50 second spacy-synthesizer intro, which tightens as it goes, then leads into a hi-hat filled dance beat. The song is Palomo’s best example of songwriting on the album. The track brings to life a scene of a dark nightclub filled with aimless, drug filled 20 somethings all trapped in a mental slum. The next track, “Slumlord’s Re-Lease” extends the feelings of  “Slumlord” with an instrumental lead by eerie synth chords. Right after, “Techno Clique” finishes off the three song section with another uptempo club beat and the repeated phrase  “Just you and I”.
The four year wait was definitely worth it to finally get to hear this album. Though Neon Indian’s past style of writing reverb filled lo-fi synth pop jams is still a unique and colorful sound in its own way, the larger, more textured sounds of VEGA INTL. Night School are a good sign of progression from the band.

VEGA INTL. Night School will be released on Oct. 16, 2015 through Mom + Pop Music & Popfrenzy records.

Check out the band’s performance of “Annie” on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

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