Neon Indian: Era Extrana

Static Tongues/Mom + Pop

"Future Sick," the ninth song on Neon Indian's arresting new album, Era Extraña, is full of retro-style synthesizer blips that could've lifted straight from the soundtrack of a Konami video game circa 1983. But group visionary Alan Palomo - a Mexican immigrant from Denton, Texas - scarcely caters to nostalgia-tripping Generation X types. Palomo hadn't yet turned 21 when he recorded his epic '09 debut, Psychic Chasms, a record that helped pave the way for a generation of so-called chillwave artists drunk on the sound of robotic keyboard glitches and Roland TR808 snares. Like its predecessor, Era Extraña hangs heavy with the analog sounds of '80s radio, but the album doesn't lack for pomp and circumstance. These are world-beating songs, each flawlessly mixed and propped up by a breathy, swollen hook. "Blindside Kiss" even suggests a creeping rock influence. That said, Palomo wrote Era Extraña exclusively on a synth, and manages to squeeze genuine transcendence from those waves of battered electronics. (5 out of 5 stars)