Neon Indian: Era Extraña 

With his sophomore effort, Alan Palomo triumphs as he abandons the whimsical cartoonish squeals of Psychic Chasms for the pop catharsis of Era Extraña. The profound effort sounds as if a brooding Palomo took too much acid before playing too many 8-bit video games all while jamming out on his Prophet 5 — and we're loving it. "Polish Girl" is a blip-happy dance track, whereas "Fall Out" is set in a daydream-like stupor, and the electronica in "Suns Irrupt" gets your feet moving. The instrumental trilogy of "Heart: Attack," "Heart: Decay," and "Heart: Release" are an explosion of dorkus un-interruptus, as Palomo releases his inner synth-nerd by spilling out quizzical, but brief, layers of brilliance. Era Extraña is innovative in its psych blend of shoegaze, new wave, and chill wave, and reminds me of watching Back to the Future. An entertaining concept that sends you to the illustrious '80s while creating a paradoxical portal through which to engage this strange era of music.

★★★★ (4/5 stars)

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