NEON INDIAN perform at Lee’s Palace on October 18. See listing. Rating: NNNN
It's got to be strange being called a chillwave artist in 2011. Granted, the term was only invented two years ago, but considering that it came from a joke on the satirical blog Hipster Runoff, it's no surprise that every band initially saddled with the tag has been running from it ever since. Who'd want their music associated with a sarcastic comment about our bizarre compulsive need to categorize everything?
Strangely, it's the acts that seem least concerned about the association, like Neon Indian, that are proving most adept at avoiding the sophomore curse. While Era Extraña won't stop anyone from continuing to put Alan Palomo's studio project into that silly little box, it's a more solid album than the critically acclaimed debut that put him there in the first place.
You've got all the icy synths, shoegazer atmospherics, fuzzy nostalgia for 80s futurism and lots of reverb that you'd expect, but this time around everything sounds tighter, bigger and much more coherent. And to think we were about to write off the whole "movement" as a flash in the pan.
Top track: Suns Irrupt