Neon Indian – Era Extraña (2011 LP)

Alan Palomo, better known as Neon Indian, rose to prominence in the chillwave explosion of 2009 and while the genre is now to music what MySpace is to social networking, Palomo has adapted and evolved his sound, proving that he’s no one trick pony with his brilliant sophomore LP Era Extraña.

The acid-infused, bedroom recordings of Psychic Chasms have been replaced with a tighter, professional glaze that comes courtesy of Dave Fridmann’s mixing skills (The Flaming Lips, MGMT). Palomo has progressed from the drug fuelled, lo-fi atmospherics toward more melody based compositions that are still heavily entrenched in 80’s nostalgia and ready made for the dance floor.

The harsh, scratchy intro of “Heart: Attack” and its disparate electronics sets the scene with an overwhelming feeling of longing before the smooth jams of “Polish Girl” takes over. This is synth pop done at its very best with the intoxicating beats and seductive vocal delivery showing the world exactly what Palomo is made of. “The Blindside Kiss” keeps the mood flowing with sensual breathy vocals that float above the heavenly ambient electronic haze and surreal sense of urgency that permeates throughout the music.

Other magical moments include the effect heavy “Hex Girlfriend” and its buzzing euphoria, the laid-back bounce of “Future Sick” and the upbeat groove of “Arcade Blues” which almost challenges the listener not to dance to the infectious, sweeping synth.

Era Extraña is a complete album that firmly establishes Neon Indian’s strong song writing and production skills. The sonic variation is minimal but the tunes are fantastical enough to override this slight complaint. This is music that puts a smile on your face and a bounce in your step as you lose yourself in the smooth electronics. Neon Indian is sensory bliss and Era Extraña is the perfect soundtrack for the incoming summer weather.

Review Score: 8/10