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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. Neon Indian, aka Denton-based solo artist Alan Palomo, was among the first chillwave-tagged artists to release a long-player, Psychic Chasms originally released in October 2009 in the US. But its delay in securing an official UK release leaves the listener in a position of listening backwards, rather than embracing progress within a stylistically narrow scene.
Psychic Chasms’ late arrival on British shores means it trails collections from all of the aforementioned parallel-worthy proponents of this lush, but limited, sonic palette. But while it lacks the freshness that saw it named one of Pitchfork’s best albums of last year, there’s no doubting that Palomo’s best efforts retain their charm a year since they were first heard. Deadbeat Summer and Terminally Chill are appealingly squelchy – the former like John Hyde’s theme music for Henry’s Cat, the latter Daft Punk on an epic comedown – and 6669 (I Don’t Know If You Know) finds Palomo’s optimistic vibes crushed by a muscular, but nevertheless affecting melancholy. Mind, Drips finds our protagonist establishing a kosmische-echoing atmosphere beneath thick beats, and Ephemeral Artery guides the record to a close with a funky confidence that tunnels itself immediately into the memory.
Those who didn’t pick the 12-track original up on import are treated to seven remixes and the inclusion of a single from spring 2010 (the perfunctory, but pretty enough Sleep Paralysist), expanding Psychic Chasms to a 20-track affair that’s pretty tough to tackle in a single sitting. There are names familiar – Toro y Moi, Bibio, DNTEL – and some that aren’t. Few take the songs they’re augmenting into fantastic new territories, but there’s a classiness about Bibio’s sharp-edged percussive punch and gut-rumbling low end on Mind, Drips; a glossy sheen to the chimes of The Antlers’ re-working of Ephemeral Artery; and a Ruby Suns-style seaside cheeriness to the Body Language remix of Should Have Taken Acid With You.
Neon Indian might have showed up late to the party on this side of the pond, but since he blew up the balloons and baked the cake in the first place, his bad timing’s not really an issue. Psychic Chasms is less chillwave’s second coming, then, more a belated statement of intent from one of its founding fathers.--Mike Diver
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Top Customer Reviews
an equally nifty little album.
Neon Indian hail from Texas (something we should
not hold against them!) and are the brainchild of
writer/musician Alan Palomo. He is assisted in his
endeavours by Leanne Macomber (keyboards), Jason
Fairies (drums) and Ronald Gierhart (guitar/vocals).
They seem to have captured the sound of summer with
their album 'Psychic Chasms'. I find shades of Hall
and Oates and Scritti Politi (remember them?!) in
the good-natured, sunny arrangements. Feelgood music.
The melodies are pretty, the harmonies loose-limbed, the
synths nicely squelchy, the beats solid and dance-friendly.
Just the thing for an August beach party.
The project is a tad ungenerous truth-be-told. Coming
in at round half-an-hour I found myself wanting more but
what there is scores points for quality over quantity.
'Deadbeat Summer' is a cute and classy and construction.
The wilfully liberal way with tunings adds a pleasant
off-kilter ambience to the highly contagious proceedings.
'Terminally Chill' (with its big nod to H&O) mixes up some
nice Isley Brothers guitar with a four-square back-beat and
fabulously floaty vocal harmonies.
The psychedelic textures of 'Mind Drips', spread out over a thwacking
great bass-line, persuaded my inner-hippie to smile in a karmic way.
The barbecue-at-the-bottom-of-a-pond sounds of 'Local Joke', with
its stomping rhythm and just-this-side-of-sober guitar motif gets
my vote for top track. Even the mayflies are dancing!
Final track 'Ephemeral Artery' is a delicious slice of
outer-limits wave-your-hands-in-the-air disco.Read more ›
Such a shame that it's been a little tainted by some slightly bonkers production methods. The whole thing sounds like its been compressed so heavily that theres a tinny squelchy feel to every song that reminds me a dodgy AM radio, and in fact the first tune on the album is called AM. I thought at first there was something wrong with my speakers, but then I tried it through the some pretty decent headphones and it wasn't much improved. Despite this though i've still decided to give it 3 stars just because there are some genuinely great tunes here which I can't help wanting to listen to again, and I did finally get a decent enough listening experience by turning my treble right down to nothing.
Highly recommend it.
It is a good listen and i think groundbreaking. Up with The Beatles and Sergant Peppers.
However, I do feel it could quite easily get on your nerves after a few plays. most deferently, we those that seek utter oblivion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the album was as good as i'd hoped, having listened to the main songs on you tube the rest of the album did not dissapointPublished on 15 July 2013 by Laurence
Psychic Chasms has one of those covers that invites you to pick up the record, and when I saw it on sale I duly obliged. Read morePublished on 15 Aug. 2011 by Amazon Customer
...just rehashing some 80's synth noises, adding them to some twee little pop songs, then compressing them to the quality of a poor compact cassette is neither big nor clever. Read morePublished on 12 Oct. 2010 by Will