Neon Indian restores faith in dance music

VEGA INTL. Night School moves toward the future by looking to the past.

Brooks Ginnan, Writer

Synesthesia is a phenomenon that occurs when one’s senses overlap in a way often referred to as “hearing color.” Although it is not necessarily a trait the majority of the population possesses, it is hard not to hear landscapes of vibrant, flashing neon while listening to “VEGA INTL. Night School,” the third full length album from Neon Indian. The album immerses the listener in gauzy synthesizers and crisp beats that, more often than not, feel straight out of the ‘80s. As a result, it is almost too easy to label “VEGA INTL. Night School” as just another lost ‘80s album, but honestly, is that something to complain about?


Standout Annie takes on a woozy atmosphere that can best be described as something along the lines of futuristic reggae, and while we are not talking reggae played by robots, a Daft Punk-esque essence is not void from the track. Meanwhile, lead single Slumlord takes its time building up a moody synth-scape before bursting into an infectious dance number. It glides along with hypo-sensual vocals and thumping bass, fittingly drawing to a close with distant applause and a voice proclaiming something along the lines of “Disco lives in Santiago!” in Spanish.


The only issue with “VEGA INTL. Night School” is that it simply does not deviate much at all, but perhaps that is the point. While there are a good deal of memorable moments, as evidenced in tracks such as “Slumlord” and the closing gem News From The Sun (Live Bootleg),” it is hard to switch between almost any track on the album without feeling a nagging sense of familiarity. The marvelous thing is, even if the album at times feels like one big track, it is a colorful and explosive one that does not let up at any point during its 51 and a half minutes of run time.


In fact, “VEGA INTL. Night School” thrives in the sense that it uses its biggest weakness as its biggest strength. The ability to pull this risky move off places Neon Indian miles ahead of many others within the vast genre of electronic music, which in recent years has come to include the overdone, homogeneous and often horrendous subgenre of EDM. This in mind, with an album like “VEGA INTL. Night School,” why would you consider dancing to anything else?

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