After the promising debut album Psychic Chasms came out in 2009, Neon Indian received much praise from popular music website Pitchfork. This approval, along with the growing popularity of other “chillwave” musicians, led to the widespread blogosphere debate of the legitimacy of this new genre. Alan Palomo, the Mexican-born, Texas-raised composer behind Neon Indian, follows up Psychic Chasms with Era Extraña, which drops Tuesday, Sept. 13. Era Extraña has a dreamy, synth-pop sound similar to Neon Indian’s first LP. The electro-pop album has an ambient feel and would make an awesome background soundtrack for an acid trip. Whether or not you are a fan of synth-heavy music, the songs of this album are almost trance-like and lulling. The songs on Era Extraña sound like they should be accompanied with colored lights, trippy visuals and copious amounts of dancing.

The varying moods of the album are mainly driven by three instrumental tracks titled “Heart: Attack,” “Heart: Decay” and “Heart: Release.” All three have a psychedelic feel that is carried throughout each track on the album, but some songs come off as a bit more distant and haunting, while others lean toward strictly dance music with upbeat vibes.

“Heart: Attack,” which sets the electronic mood and segues nicely into the second track on the record, “Polish Girl.” The repetitive keyboard melody in the background makes “Polish Girl” an ideal dance pop song.

The standout track on the album, “Hex Girlfriend,” is a groovy sounding song with fuzzy guitars and a new wave influence. This track is less covered up by synthesized sound effects and is more guitar-driven than most of the other songs on the album. In the same vein, “Blindside Kiss” is less of a jam-based song and more of a dreamy pop dance song with eerie, washed out vocals.

“Fall Out” has more of a ‘70s glam-rock influence and is a little slow and drawn out, while “Future Sick” picks up the pace a bit and plays with sound effects reminiscent of childhood video games.

Neon Indian’s new album Era Extraña is experimental and innovative. However, after many listens, the songs start to blend together and seem more like dreamy background music than the type of record you will want to listen to over and over again. Whether or not this “chillwave” genre is here to stay or is just a fleeting new trend, Alan Palomo a.k.a. Neon Indian establishes himself as a key player in the spread of modern electronic pop.

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