Prior to the release of debut LP Psychic Chasms, Austin’s Neon Indian had already begun to garner a substantial quantity of hype from tastemakers across the globe. In first visiting Psychic Chasms, one is struck with the term ambiguous. Sure, the album and the band hint at a wider experimental electro-folk, folktronica, or whatever subgenre you wish to dub the latest slew of pleasant electronic artists that dip their toes into the arena of folk all the while foraying into eccentric bouts of experimentation.
Yeah, it fits that. But where its predecessors maintain a consistency in influence and commonality to artists like Animal Collective / Panda Bear or even Deerhunter / Atlas Sound, Neon Indian (for the most part) shuns those contemporaries.
Emerging from these eclectic sounds on “Terminally Chill” and “Deadbeat Summer” is a vocal pattern throwback not necessarily to Cut Copy, but to Le Sport (the two are quite similar, though the latter is better from an aesthetic standpoint and lesser known overall). It, in itself, is a throwback to a dark electro new wave 80s sound. But the supporting music doesn’t fit that array of genres at all. It remains at the forefront of modern electronic folk. Likewise, “Should Have Taken Acid With You” features peppy electronics backed by a morose, lazy vocal pattern . The contradiction is perfect.
It’s easy to hear how this band was able to generate widespread awareness by leaking a few tracks off this album – there are very few weak points, all the songs are impeccably excellent, and the album is quite unique. With Psychic Chasms, Neon Indian has succeeded in creating a true work of art, original and untarnished by that which came before.
Lefse Records [CD, 2009]
2. Deadbeat Summer
3. Laughing Gas
4. Terminally Chill
5. (If I Knew, I’d Tell You)
6. 6669 (I Don’t Know If You Know)
7. Should Have Taken Acid With You
8. Mind, Drips
9. Psychic Chasms
10. Local Joke
11. Ephemeral Artery
12. 7000 (Reprise)