"Borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered 80s." Those words, when James Murphy over-enunciated them on what's still arguably the decade's best piece of music-as-music-criticism-- LCD Soundsystem's 2002 debut single, "Losing My Edge"-- had the decisive feel of a gauntlet being thrown down. One 1980s baby struck back with a Nintendo Power Glove. Just a guess: Probably not what Murphy had in mind.
How ironic is it that Neon Indian was born out of Alan Palomo's failure to do acid with his friend and visual collaborator, Alicia Scardetta? When your entire sound is built around psychotropic disco trails, it would seem like everytime you step into the studio you should be tripping on something, in the interest of authenticity, at the very least. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that it's probably not easy to make pop music while you're under the influence of hallucinogens (unless you're Brian Wilson or the Beatles), which just makes it more impressive that Psychic Chasms sounds so wasted. This particular aesthetic that Neon Indian has adapated -- the feel of a bunch of synthesizers that decided to get loaded on Nyquil and gin -- is particularly interesting because the result combines so many elements.
Growing up in the Eighties there was so much hope. But it was hope for a future that promised much more than it delivered. If films and TV had lived up to their promises, we should all by now have virtual reality machines, be able to teleport, or, at the very least, eat Jetsons-like tablet dinners. Instead, we've got clunky semi-compatible mobile technology, social media allowing every idiot to broadcast their inane thoughts to the world and IRL shit like bills and washing up to deal with.
Psychic Chasms is a marvelous sonic voyage through a bubbly synth landscape of tones and emotions. One listen to the album gives the impression of brilliant, lush canopies of vivid synthesizers and crawling guitars swaying playfully in a jungle of two-channel stereo sound. Appropriately, Neon Indian’s new offering plays like a sonic hallucination.
A belated UK release for one of the best-received US debuts of 2009. Mike Diver 2010 While its key players might not be chart fixtures on either side of the Atlantic, there’s surely no doubt that chillwave has been the most-hyped (sub-) genre of the year, so far. Sun-bleached, dubbed-out, loved-up, its protagonists – from Washed Out to Toro y Moi, via Baths and Memory Tapes – have enjoyed substantial coverage across the blogosphere and beyond.