Neon Indian master of the weird

Chanel Saidi

Era Extraña translates to “it used to be strange,” which is exactly what the listener will get with this sophomore album from Neon Indian.

The colorful album is an invigorated follow-up to the band’s debut album Psychic Chasms. The new album is a beautiful mess of synthetic sound meeting the musical genius of musician Alan Palomo. The experience this album offers when listening to it for the first time is like falling into a mind-blowing guided acid trip.

The music in the cd is completely made by synthetic sounds creating more of a listening experience for listeners. The music twists and turns with sounds that are foreign to the human ear. The use of synthetic sound draws listeners in as one tries to figure out how the sounds were made and put together. The rise and fall of the sound provide the mental picture of all the ups and downs that life throws our way.

Even the stiffest music listeners will tap their feet to this psychedelic album. The use of synthetic sound throughout the album creates a flow throughout the music that you do not get with instruments such as guitars and pianos. Consider it a juiced-up version of MGMT meets an updated version of ‘80s glam rock.

Era Extraña is broken up by three separate instrumentals Heart; Attack, Decay, Release. Imagine the instrumentals breaking up the cd just like chapters in a book. The instrumental pieces try to evoke the feelings that a heart feels during hard times. The album tries to touch on the anger, resentment, hurt and finally that feeling that comes when you release all the hurtful memories to make room for new ones.

The track “Heart: Release” paints a picture of a heart opening up before listeners’ eyes. The glitchy sound of the music in this song gives listeners a lot to process with just one listen. The fading in and out of each note as well as the length each is held out really emphasizes the idea of a releasing moment.

“Sun Irrupt” begins with a whirring sound resembling a table saw cutting through a piece of wood. The song progresses into a contraction of sound, the background melody stays fairly constant while the overriding music sounds as if it is coming at the listeners and then quickly pulling away.

The track “Fallout” feels as if the music is falling out of the song itself. The buzzing sound in the song jumps out fairly basic background music. This matched with the lyrics sound of favorite ‘80s songs makes this song fun to listen to.

One of the strongest songs on the album is the newest single “Polish Girl” found within the Attack portion of the instrumental. This track gives one the feeling of soaring through the sky on a hot summer day. The track “Halogen (I Could Be A Shadow)” describes the hurt felt when reminiscing about the memory of a treasured friendship that fell apart before its time. The erratic instrumental in the opening of “Hex Girlfriend” bewitches the listener into a trance of experimental sound.

The weakest song on the album is the title track Era Extraña, as it is lacking in lyrics but the instrumental to the track is pretty badass. The elongated notes of a keyboard sound make listeners go to a strange place into their own heads. It almost sounds as if the whole song is in slow motion.

Whether headed off to a night out with some friends, going on a run or stuck at home cleaning, throw this album into the CD player, press play and get ready to experience a wild ride of emotion and sound.

 Chanel Saidi can be reached at [email protected]