Music Magazine

Neon Indian – VEGA INTL. Night School

Posted on the 02 November 2015 by Doughnutmag

If one is to take Neon Indian’s most recent album, VEGA INTL. Night School, as an indicator for what’s to come, one thing is very clear. Neon Indian can no longer truly be considered chillwave. Night School is less in the direction of Toro y Moi and more in the direction of, say, Tame Impala.

Neon Indian - Vega Intl. Night School cover

This is probably for the best, because of all the arbitrary categories electronic pop organizes itself into, chillwave is easily the most ridiculous. And Neon Indian deserves more than to be lumped in with Washed Out when people bring up electronic, because they’ve always been making great music. VEGA INTL. Night School is no exception.

The first track is the prelude-like ‘Hit Parade’, one minute and five seconds that establishes the energy for the entire album, followed by ‘Annie’, a quick and pleasant reminder that Alan Palomo can sing well. It seems to me to be a statement: “Hey! We’re different now.”

Palomo and company spends the remainder of the 51 minutes seriously fucking with your ears, separating some songs into drastically different chunks, somehow still naturally transitioning into them(see: ‘Smut!’). Certain bits of the album seem to belong together, flowing directly into one another(see: ‘Smut!’ into ‘Bozo’ into ‘Glitzy Hive’, ‘Slumlord’ into ‘Slumlord’s Release’, and ‘C’est La Vie(say the casualties)’ into ’61 Cygni Ave’). It’s a commitment of an album, not meant to be put on shuffle or listened to one at a time, save ‘Annie’ and ‘Slumlord’, the singles. The record is deliberate and strategic.


Night School appears to be the coming-of-age point for the group. Their sound is clearer than Era Extrana, which fumbled a bit. We’re now hearing more of the ‘Polish Girl’ sound and less of the ‘Fallout’.This “new” Neon Indian is stunning in its consistency. Each song is well-done, upbeat, and infectious.

Finishing the LP felt a little like finishing a show I’d been watching for a while or a really fantastic. It possessed the same kind of stranded feeling and the “Well, where do I go from here?” quality. It’s uncharacteristic of dance music to leave you with the desire to listen to it over and over again, out of the context of dancing, but that’s the effect VEGA INTL. Night School has. And it doesn’t fail to make you want to dance.

Though it’s a little awkward to attempt to discreetly bop along to ‘Slumlord’ on the city bus.

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