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Album Review: Neon Indian - VEGA INTL. Night School

​By Jennifer Castaneda, Contributor

[Mom+Pop; 2015]

Rating: 4.5/5

Key Tracks: “Slumlord,” “Techno Clique,” “Baby’s Eyes”

VEGA INTL. Night School is Neon Indian’s third album, the first in four years, one that almost did not happen after front man and songwriter Alan Palomo had his laptop stolen, which was filled with samples and beats he was working on.

VEGA INTL. Night School is Palomo’s interpretation of a funky New York from the ‘80s. In an interview with Complex, Palomo shared, “I really wanted to create my own grotesque, cartoonish reimagining of what my time in New York has been . . . There was the intent to create some kind of universe,” and he accomplishes it. Neon Indian moved past its “chillwave” and reinvented its sound.

The album's single, “Slumlord,” captures the change Palomo wanted to achieve with this album; I highly recommend watching the video associated with this song, a mini film Palomo helped direct, Slumlord Rising.* “Slumlord” has a funky beat to it, it’s smooth and it draws you in from the beginning; the beat is almost intoxicating. You can catch some of Neon Indian’s old sound that slowly transitions to something almost exotic.

“Techno Clique” has an easy beat to follow along to. It’s not necessarily funky, but it does have an ‘80s techno-pop sound to it. The song does sound like a mixture of Neon Indian’s first two albums, Psychic Chasms and Era Extraña; it’s an upbeat song with a dark tone at the same time.

There’s a sultry and slow beat with “Baby’s Eyes.” It captures the nightlife of a funky New York. It’s a complex song, heavy with emotion. The lyrics are dramatic. “Never coming home again / Until they see the world as I see you”.

Overall, Neon Indian does an amazing job with this album. The group wanted to change its music and stand out, and they truly do just that. Each album by Neon Indian has been different from the one before, but this one hits it out of the ballpark. VEGA INTL. Night School is the beginning of a new era for Neon Indian.

*There is some violence and blood toward the end of the video.

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