With Neon Indian, 21-year-old Alan Palomo makes roots-pop music for the Internet age. He creates with the hands-on imagination of a gamer, and his sound—including his mostly incomprehensible vocals—is entirely a product of electronics. Neon Indian is his third music project, and one of the others, the geek-electro VEGA, is still very much alive.
Palomo's sense of song-making for Neon Indian may owe more than he cares to admit to his father's brief career as a Mexican pop star. Psychic Chasms explores a landscape of romantic loss and betrayal rendered as authentically as any acoustic pop ballad. Still, the sonic diversity of that landscape stretches, mashes and digs beyond the known universe.
"Deadbeat Summer" perfectly captures restless hormones captive in indolent youth. But "Mind, Drips" is as spastic and mechanically diverse as "6669 (I Don't Know If You Know)" is mysterious and haunting. The title track mashes what sounds like the tinkle of icicles into a vinegary instrumental processional. "Local Joke" sets the vocals in a blurred electronic staccato, then echoes and distorts them, off the beat a hair. What sounds like fireworks burst and whistle through the middle section.
Psychic Chasms was released just last month and, with a boost from Pitchfork, has won instant, viral and well-deserved recognition. In performance, Palomo's machinations are augmented with live musicians and video by Alicia Scardetta.