Con i suoi 23 anni scarsi Alan Palomo potrebbe quasi essere ancora considerato un “bambino prodigio”, e non solo anagraficamente. C´è infatti un che di infantile nella sua inclinazione ad un terrorismo sonoro benevolo, giocoso, multicromatico e scintillante. Caratteristiche accennate nel suo album d’esordio “Psychic Chasm“, in questo “Era Extraña” totalmente e compiutamente espresse. Il Pop Rock d alto bordo della MTV di metá anni 80 inizi 90 viene rivisto in questo album sotto la lente del noise pop di stampo britannico di Jesus and Mary Chain e My Bloody Valentine. Niente di nuovo forse, il brivido dell´estasi nella distorsione è un piacere che non ci siamo ancora tolti dai tempi di “Psychocandy”. Ad ogni modo, considerare Alan Palomo semplice revivalista è riduttivo e fuorviante. Piú calzante piuttosto è considerarlo come un figlio dei nostri tempi che fa musica che è segno e frutto dei tempi. Infatti qui i feedback chitarristici, ormai tanto familiari, vengono sostituiti da quelli di provenienza digitale in 8-bit e la sperimentazione sonora non è mai fine a se stessa ma viene messa sempre al servizio di una produzione ( curata da David Fridmann, già dietro al banco di regia con Flaming Lips e MGMT ) panoramica e mozzafiato e di canzoni concise, emozionali e sensuali, piene zeppe di ganci melodici immediatamente “memorizzabili”.
E non sembra nemmeno forzato che l´album abbia un impatto di tipica astuta, pragmatica tradizione statunitense, con l´urgenza delle tre tracce iniziali d’ assalto , “Polish Girl”, “The Blindside Kiss”, “Hex Girlfriend” a catturare l´attenzione dell’ ascoltatore. Seguite poi dal primo singolo ufficiale, il brano “Fallout”, dall´incedere lento e sonnanbulo di un viaggio in macchina in un’ alba da GTA. Da qui alla fine del disco almeno 5 o 6 tracce svelano, senza incertezze, tutto il loro potenziale di singoli dal successo trasversale. Dal vostro blog di fiducia al prossimo blockbuster, magari in 3D, il passo sembra davvero breve.
Un po’ come trovare una scatola di cioccolatini avvolta in filo spinato oppure, se preferite, come addentare un dolcissimo e liquoroso babá che nasconde una lametta da barba al suo interno. Come resistervi? Ad aggiungere profonditá, gli strumentali “Heart: Attack-Decay-Release” ed un senso di inquietudine e spaesamento da tempi moderni, come sottolineato nei testi di “Arcade Blues”, “Future Sick” o nella la stessa title-track. Questo e molto altro (a voi il piacere di scoprirlo), fanno di “Era Extraña” uno dei dischi più eccitanti dell´anno.
A confermare le nostre impressioni, ecco la nostra conversazione con Alan Palomo aka Neon Indian.
-Why did you chose Helsinki to write and record your new album?
Originally my motivation was more conducive to personal development than album writing. After going from my place to live in Texas, before being in Neon Indian, working in a Burrito place, waiting to get to join the Film Programme at school. Going from that to being on the road for 2 years straight and really having my life-style transformed from that, I really needed to separate myself from that to be able to generate a sort of new estetic and to propell myself in a new direction. To extract myself from the familiarity to New York or Texas, spend some time alone for a little bit and digest everything.
-How important was for you to grow up in Texas and, in particular, in a little town like Denton?
I was originally born in Mexico, in Monterey, I lived all over Texas but Denton was where I really started making music, it s this kind of typical Musical College town. That s why me and some of my collaborators and the people that I work with on this project are still in Texas. There s a very kind of do-it-yourself, secretive, electronic music community that spread through out Austin, Dallas and Huston. It´s interesting because there´s not even the kind of right enviroment for it, and that makes it more exciting. I remember growing up and being into electronic music and meeting just the 6 or 7 other people in town who were into that and really feeling like there was a connection. And that´s hard to get in a big city, where there´s a bigger audience for it. It isn’t nearly as intimate as it was for me when I was living in Denton throwing little DJ parties with a bunch of my friends at somebody´s house.
-I got the impression that, compared to your debut, the sound of your new album is very influenced by some british rock from the 80´s. Do you agree?
At the time when I was in Helsinki I was revisiting a lot of records I used to enjoy at high school. I remember listening a lot to “Bad Moon Rising” and “Psychocandy” and the My Bloody Valentine s “You Made Me Realise” EP and yet trying to surgically remove this guitar sounds and replace them with synths that have the same angular, fuzzed out textures. Which is really fun actually because I got to play around with old Commodore-64 sounds that, when you distort ´em, seem to take this strange guitar quality, and I really got the chance to explore it for this record.
-Your new record is a bigger and meaner beast compared to your debut.
In my first record, I isolated and used some samples and the reason was that I wanted to make some kind of collage piece, reflected in the lyrics that were more close and personal, a sort of journal or scrapbook . This new one was really built from the ground up. Was more into creating sounds. I didn’t use any samples. It was arty, initially individually warped, trying to put sounds together like textures and create a song.
-People reacts in funny ways to your music, like checking the boxes or headphones to be sure everything it´s all right with them:
For me that´s quite appealing. That s exactelly the kind of reaction I would want, someone that turns around and goes “Oh my God what´s wrong with that…?”. To me that s a sort of fun. The music, the sound got a transformative quality that transcends the idea of a bunch of people that got together, play some instruments and somebody record it. I like that you can play around with the recording medium to evoke a different time and place, something that exists outside the song, and creating a place around the song.
-How did you get to work with The Flaming Lips, in the EP you released together early this year?
I met Wayne Coyne at an Ariel Pink show. We stayed in contact and toyed with the idea of doing together some shows, maybe do a tour. And eventually once I was working with David Fridmann in the studio, we ended kind of overlapping and saying “Why don´t we get together and make some noise for a couples of days and see what happens?” And we didn’t have a template, an idea of what it was goin to be exactelly. That´s the way titles like “Is David Bowie dying?” came up. Through conversations and jokes. With Wayne, he´s a big David Bowie´s fan, wondering: “Is he just immortal?”
-If you had to chose a song to cover, which one would it be?
I would probably chose “Do you dream in color” by Bill Nelson. A guy who used to do weird eeire ambient music in the 80s, some of it sounds like Boards of Canada before they were even around and he made one pop record, such a strange disjointed wonderful pop record.
-Would you like to greet our readers chosing a song?
I’ ll chose “Alex” by the band Girls. One song I m getting obsessed with now that I m on the road again.