By Jarrett Edmund, October 13 2015 —
Synth wizard Alan Palomo returns to the indie music scene with a brand new concoction of tunes. Palomo, who releases music under the alias Neon Indian, was champion of the ‘chillwave’ movement in the late ‘00s. But his new record, VEGA INTL. Night School, sees him drop stale chillwave staples for a revitalized sound sure to get bodies shaking.
It’s been four years since Palomo’s last album. He spent much of that time playing DJ sets, and VEGA INTL. reflects that club-like atmosphere. The album is a futuristic laser show, replete with smoke machines and dancefloors.
Despite all the shimmering lights, the true genius of VEGA INTL. is its juxtaposition of past and present, as Palomo seamlessly blurs the lines between present day synth-pop now and its exaggerated future. The album unfolds in the kaleidoscopic haze of ultramodern disco music.
Palomo’s infectious charisma grounds the album, even through hectic instrumentals. The album’s pace is unhinged and jolts frenetically. Instrumental interludes enter songs mid-hook while beats drop and leave baselines exposed, only to morph into entirely new arrangements. The effect is intoxicating. VEGA INTL. is a dystopian club crawl and it’s impossible not to become lost in the world he has created.
Peeling apart the layers of VEGA INTL. is daunting, but tropical influences bubble to the surface. “Hit Parade,” “Annie” and “Slumlord Re-lease” all dabble in palm tree imagery while synths crash like waves. Considering the album was finished on a cruise liner, this comes as no surprise.
But the album’s true centerpiece is late cut “Baby’s Eyes,” a slow-burning late-night party jam.
Palomo’s versatility is unparalleled and the multi-layered complexity of VEGA INTL. is bound to conjure glitzy narratives. But make no mistake — this is a dance record through and through. Grab your neon pumps and mirrorball earrings — VEGA INTL. Night School is in session.