Alan Palomo: World of Hassle (Mom + Pop) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, March 4th, 2024  

Alan Palomo

World of Hassle

Mom + Pop

Oct 11, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Alan Palomo doesn’t make albums. He builds worlds. Similar to his psych-pop contemporaries like Tame Impala or Toro y Moi, he meticulously chooses the texture of every swirl of synth, the smoky reverb echoing from each keyboard, the lazy drum machine beat. And he keeps those choices consistent to build a defined aesthetic for each record, a mini-world. Everything is done to serve the all-mighty vibe.

After listening to World of Hassle’s first two tracks—“The Wailing Mall” and “Meutrière”—there won’t be any surprises. Every song has the same building blocks: ’80s funk bass, chirpy guitar, layers of synth, saxophone. But the real joy in Palomo’s newest album is not uncovering a new trippy sound from the chillwave purveyor. It’s watching him build and exist in the sonic world he creates.

Palomo’s last album was 2015’s Vega Intl. Night School, under his established moniker of Neon Indian. Although he dropped his name, things haven’t changed too much in Palomo’s music. Both records draw from a Prince-meets-Pac-Man 1980s mood board. And yet, the color palettes between the two are different. Night School is, as expected, a night record. It’s a Saturday night in ’80s Los Angeles, replete with the irresistible glow of TRON and the sleaze of Boogie Nights. World of Hassle is a day album. It’s a Miami beach party: corny, bright, and kitsch. Like Todd Terje’s It’s Album Time, World of Hassle plays with a tourist fantasy.

And that fantasy is the perfect backdrop for Palomo’s detailed synthwork. While his previous work is dense with distortion and texture, World of Hassle has a newfound clarity. Each note sparkles like the sun on the beach. Yacht rock and city pop find their way into the record’s palm tree-ready cocktail blend. Palomo has always been a vibes-oriented artist, and he builds breeziest yet on World of Hassle.

Even though this is his first album under his own name, World of Hassle is not a more personal record. It is, for all intents and purposes, a continuation of the Neon Indian project. But just because it isn’t more personal doesn’t mean it lacks personality. Under his own name, Palomo’s humor is front-and-center. “If I start to cry, disregard it/It’s just the spice,” he ensures as he gets broken up with on “Big Night of Heartache.” He ponders the question, “Is There Nightlife After Death?” He links with fellow indie slacker Mac DeMarco on “Nudista Mundial ‘89” to order “dos cervezas por favor.”

World of Hassle is escapism to its core. And if it didn’t have the humor or the consistent palette to sell it, the album would be either too unserious or too corny. Instead, World of Hassle is leisurely and confident. It’s as easy as a beach day. (www.alanpalomo.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10



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