Welcome to a 1980s nightclub, where the glitchy music is enough to fry your brain, the epileptic onslaught of neon lights is enough to give you a seizure and the drug-fueled drinks will be good enough to keep you going until, well, you can’t. Tonight’s music will be sponsored by Neon Indian’s new album “Vega Intl Night School.” The name of the album is a reference to Neon Indian’s other project titled “Vega,” and this album is stepping in and combining the two, ending the moniker that they once were known for. Don’t let that get you down though, as this double album is a raging non-stop retrospective homage to the 1980s that will keep you rocking until you realize you’re getting late for school and hope that you’ll be saved by the bell.
With past hit albums like “Era Extrana” and “Psychic Chasms,” Neon Indian is known for making grooves so pleasing to the ear, you’ll wonder how you’ve gone through life without previously discovering them. This album builds even further upon that feeling with really tight production that breathes new life into this obsession that pop music has had in the past 10 years of rehashing ‘80s era music into new wave media. The songs on this album are a blend of everything that made that era great: Michael Jackson, Madonna, early morning cartoons and “Miami Vice” vibes. Each song on this album is a pop hit in its own right, including songs like “Street Level,” “Smut!,” “Bozo” and “The Glitzy Hive.”
These songs give a romantic flashback of the ‘80s where those Reagan era problems just melt away and leave all the glitter, hairspray and glitchy 16-bit synths that defined that decade. Specifically on “The Glitzy Hive,” respectively one of the grooviest songs on the album, lo-fi Michael Jackson-esque vocals combined with the clatter of cowbells and that Bee Gees inspired beat excite that ecstasy driven spirit of “Scarface” that has been lying dormant in you, waiting to be revived into a dancing machine. “Slumlord” and “Hit Parade” continue on with this disco-themed rave, reminding you that Daft Punk’s old stuff is still cool enough to start a back alley dance party with all your friends, synthesizing the sounds of Blondie and Stevie Nicks to create a funky, smooth dance house mix.
“Slumlord’s Re-lease” and “Techno Clique” change up the tempo and turn back time a little bit more into the disco era of the ‘70s. These songs add a nice variety to the middle of the album if you were getting bored of that ‘80s beach vice vibe. They turn up the tempo with heavy synths, borrowing sounds from the rave scene in 1970s England. They also layer these songs with intricate production reminiscent of Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, adding these small details in every song that require even the most attentive listener to put the album on repeat to be able to fully grasp the range of the sounds and the sights that are invoked upon hearing the songs.
The closing songs on the album, “61 Cygni Ave” and “News From the Sun (Live Bootleg)” wind down the album as if closing to a feel good John Cusack movie. With crowds chanting and funky basslines, the closing song “News From the Sun (Live Bootleg),” ending the album with a nice drive off into a lo-fi sunset of electronic/dance goodness.
Even if you aren’t a fan of electronic music or you’ve become sick and tired of these rehashed ‘80s synths that seem to creep up into modern day radio, Neon Indian’s new album will easily make you remember why you loved the ‘80s in the first place. Every song will have you on that rainbow-pulsing dance floor moving like a pop star of the era.
Rating: 4.5 stars