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Neon Indian’s new album is a great mix funky beats and solid synths

Jack Deubner, Reporter

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Released on Oct. 16th, Vega Intl. Night School is an escape from the normal sound of Alan Palomo’s Neon Indian project. Palomo typically orients his music around neo-psychedelic synths and leading the short lived “chillwave” era of the mid 2000’s, but on this album Palomo dives into the world of funk with synth and bass leads creating some music designed to get you up and on your feet.

When the first lead single off the album Annie dropped in May of this year,  I could tell that this Neon Indian album wouldn’t be the Psychic Chasms-esque album I was hoping for after my personal upset with 2011’s Era Extraña. Annie starts out with its lead bass line that spans the entire song and its almost reggae sounding guitar behind it providing some funky up-strokes to bring everything together, a big jump from 2009’s Deadbeat Summer to say the least. But, with Palomo only now having three albums and an EP under his belt, room for experimentation and change couldn’t hurt. The album starts off with the funky bass lead of Annie, and eventually trails off into some other songs like the “body-movin'” song The Glitzy Hive and the slower Baby’s Eyes.

The instrumentation Palomo brings out on Vega Intl. Night School really is top notch, with its sharp production and layers of synth, every instrument sounds great. But, the vocals on this album are a bit overlooked and not put together too well. They really don’t play a huge role on the album, working almost as filler. With most of the lyrics either repeating a lot (“Answering, answering machine” can be heard plenty of times on Annie) or with the lyrics really having no meaning and sounding pretty simple (“Every time I see her, her Walking down the street, I’m wondering who she’s going to meet”). Its obvious what’s the major focus on the album, and the lyrics are surely not it.

Now, entering this Neon Indian record, lyrics weren’t a big necessity for me, I’ve always been impressed by the instrumentation Palomo brings to the table, and this album was exactly what I expected, but with a little more funk. This album is definitely worth a listen to anyone who enjoys some funky beats to get down to and anyone wanting to broaden their horizons on the world of electronic and synth oriented music. I can definitely see some of the tracks off of this album finding their way onto plenty of party playlists in the following years, but as an album as a whole, Vega Intl. Night School lays as a great addition to Neon Indian’s discography.

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