Published Oct 19, 2015The term "chillwave" may end up being a tag that follows Alan Palomo and his work as Neon Indian around for as long as he makes music, and while some of his contemporaries have done their best in trying to shed the handle, Palomo has opted more towards pushing it in new directions. His first LP in four years, VEGA INTL. Night School, doesn't fall directly in line with the breezy lo-fi work explored on Psychic Chasms or Era Extraña — rather, he puts on his dancing shoes, shores up the production quality and heads out for a dazzling night on the town.
A reference to an early, dance-oriented Palomo project in the title naturally points to such influences shining through on the record, with a bulk of the work taking cues from reggae, funk and Italo-disco. While the offbeat guitars of "Annie" hint at this early on, Night School reaches the most rewarding of danceable peaks in its middle third. With the groove of "The Glitzy Hive" and quirky circuitry of "Dear Skorpio Magazine" leading off, the trio of "Slumlord," "Slumlord's Re-lease" and "Techno Clique" paint a clearer picture of a strung-out evening than "Street Level" does with its lyrics about trying to survive the night "with a head full of pesticide."
Wavier than it is chill; Palomo's four-year absence has yielded a flashy, fun record with welcome diversity. (Mom+Pop)