Review Summary: A blip on the radar.
Neon Indian is the guise of twenty-one year old Texas boy Alan Polomo. On his debut album under the moniker, Psychic Chasms
, he eagerly works towards a style of music heavily influenced by the eighties and electro/synth-pop that, while charming, is unfortunately frustrating. Not for how terrible his music is, however – more, this relates to just how tolerable it all is. These are the kind of songs that you really want to put an effort into, to really try and enjoy as much as possible. This is difficult, however, when most of Chasms
is more than content to ride upon a singular wave of tedium and never blossom into anything that it has the potential to be. You can’t pick out anything offensively terrible on the record, but it’s certainly a release with little in terms of highlights.
The songs that aren’t bizarre warps of filler (“(AM)”, “Laughing Gas”) are severely lacking in dimension to the point that it seems self-contradictory: here on display are songs with pop ambition, soaking themselves in lo-fi pop repellent. Tracks such as lead single “Deadbeat Summer” - arguably the only moment on the record that you will remember beyond one or two listens - and the oddly regretful “Should Have Taken Acid With You” are self-contained whirrs of pre-programmed pop noise. Complete with tweeting-bird synth and mostly flat-sounding guitar, Psychic Chasms
has moments where it is so weakly arranged, it’s as if every element of the song was an afterthought, thrown together at the very last minute. Polomo has everything in perfect order in theory only – when plotting out these tracks in the studio, something has gone exceptionally wrong.
Each song thuds along with plodding computerised rhythm, as Alan’s barely coherent, echo-laden voice recalls summers and friends past (or so say the lyrics booklet). For times that sound like they were a lot of fun, he sure doesn’t sound too happy singing about them. If any enjoyment sounds like it is being had anywhere on Chasms
, it’s most likely when Polomo has picked up his electric guitar. “Terminally Chill”, for instance, boasts a brief but engaging solo that noodles its way over a late night groove and conveys the mood better than any of the marble-mouthed vocal drawls, coos and mumbles that pass themselves off as the lead vocals.
What a shame, really, that the album is trying to get so much done in its brief running time that it completely loses focus by the time it awkwardly wraps up. This is an unadventurous experiment on Polomo’s behalf that mostly bores, no matter what kind of sub-genre name you invent for it. On a positive note, Polomo is young and has plenty of time to explore what he is capable of. Psychic Chasms
just can’t be it.