Album Review: Neon Indian – Vega Intl. Night School (2015 LP)

The highly praised tribal leader of indie synth returns with his first album in four years. We’re of course talking about Neon Indian and his long awaited LP Vega INTL. Night School, officially available this Friday.

Firstly – I need to know: how does one attend this night school? Because they will teach you all about the funk! Alan Palomo, the man behind Neon Indian, explains that his most eye-opening experiences seem to happen after dark. This is when he truly learns, and that’s what he tries to reflect in this new album.

Neon Indian is one of the few artists of our generation who can change and blend the landscape of his sound on each new album and pull it off. When you compare Vega INTL. Night School to his first album, Psychic Chasms, the chasm between the albums is apparent (sorry, couldn’t help myself). Interestingly enough, this is also the first time he has merged his side project titled Vega, with his Neon Indian work – in the album title itself no less.

By now, fans have likely heard the single “Slumlord”. The intro sounds like something only Lazerhawk could have done better, before the tempo gets faster and faster and the synth seem to puncture you where it counts. What you might not have yet heard is “Slumlord Re-Lease”. Building from the great track already laid down, this remix seems to build a sense of foreboding.

Palomo pours more of his vocals into this album as well. It seems lyrics that started off rather basic, relying on one verse and one chorus to carry us all the way though, have now bloomed into a healthy fascination with words. “Street Level” sings about how ‘We all know how to do the psych walk’, while “SMUT” flirts cheekily with swimsuit models in ‘skintight neoprene’.

Neon Indian’s fascination with the future – and the past – reverberates in his songs just as all the great synth-ophants do. Vega INTL. Night School sounds like a space traveler has made it past the space adventures of his previous album Era Extrana, and has now found a wormhole that seems to thread through a window in the 80’s to the funk of the future. This intergalactic, time-warping, dimension bending soundscape wraps up in one incredible album. A triumphant return.

Review Score: 9.1 out of 10

Neon Indian will be embarking on an Australian Tour for four nights only this December. Vega INTL. Night School is set for release on Friday, 16th October through Popfrenzy.

Neon Indian Tour Dates

Friday 11th, Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th December
Meredith Music Festival

Monday 14th December
Wollongong – University of Wollongong

Tuesday 15th December
Sydney – Oxford Art Factory

Wednesday 16th December
Brisbane – The Foundry

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