Hailing from the Denton, Texas, Neon Indian is the brainchild of Alan Palomo.  Sometimes labeled as “chillwave” (whatever the hell that means), Neon Indian is an interesting brand of electronic music – perhaps too poppy for the avant-gardists, perhaps too abstract for the mainstream.  I happen to find it a perfect marriage.

Neon Indian debuted in 2009 with their full-length Psychic Chasms.  That album’s low-fi electronic grooves garnered the band a good amount of buzz on the blog/college radio circuit, spurred largely by the “Deadbeat Summer” single (which in my demented world, was a top ten hit that summer).  While I enjoyed Psychic Chasms well enough, the disc as a whole failed to really grab me as something particularly noteworthy.  But I did like it enough to pick up the 7″ (“Fallout”/”Polish Girl”) that the band released this summer as a teaser for their upcoming album.  It was a small, $2 gamble that paid off handsomely.

Neon Indian doesn’t take quantum leaps with Era Extrana, but their sophomore effort finds Palomo considerably refining his sound.  Part of what prevented me from fully appreciating Psychic Chasms was that it was just a tad on the underproduced side.  Era Extrana retains a lo-fi aesthetic, but has an overall thicker, denser, more cohesive sound.  In short, the album has Neon Indian showcasing a more developed approach to composition and production.  It’s a meld of pop melodies, rock guitar, and airy, reverb-laden production that is at once dreamy, emotive, danceable and ambient.  This is definitely going to be in Dr. Gonzo’s heavy rotation for the fall.

Rating: A-

Check out the video for Era Extrana‘s lead single, “Polish Girl”:

Neon Indian hits the road this week in support of Era Extrana, which is in stores now.  Check out their website for tour dates.

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