The psychedelic-rock gurus make a grand return.
A decade has passed since Tame Impala first burst onto the psych-rock scene with Innerspeaker, a kaleidoscopic journey from front to back mapped by Lennon-esque vocals, pounding drums, and layers of reverb-soaked guitars. Kevin Parker and co. continued to make their mark on neo-psychedelia with 2012’s Lonerism, the album that many fans deem to be the peak of Parker’s song writing output. In 2015, the band released Currents, a move away from their psychedelic routes as they began to heavily incorporate elements of synth-pop and disco. Now in 2020, Tame Impala are back with their first record in five years and, although many die hard Lonerism fans may disagree, I for one am glad that Parker has followed on from Currents with ever evolving vibes of dance and disco. Tame Impala presents: The Slow Rush.
I was initially worried whether there would be much of an album left to explore, as the band released four singles in the run up to its much-anticipated release. I would much prefer to open all my presents on one day rather than be sporadically teased with little presents over the course of a year. However, I can’t really complain; I enjoyed all the singles immensely bar It Might be Time, which I initially hated, but I have a sneaky suspicion that I might in fact be growing to love it. Lost in Yesterday is the standout track, with a hook so catchy that it has similar effects to that of the immensely popular The Less I Know the Better from their previous album. The lyrics to all these singles detail Parker trying to come to terms with a complex relationship with an important and elusive figure from his past. This is most obvious in the haunting track Posthumous Forgiveness, in which he somberly confronts this figure, even though he knows it is too late. This is the concept for the entire album and leaves you trying to decipher the story behind each song, which is always an intriguing endeavour.
As I said, I was worried about having the album spoiled for me with the release of so many singles, however, I need not have fretted, as there was much left for me to sink my teeth into. The opening track, One More Year, overloads your ears with mind-bending autotuned vocals whilst dance loops gradually begin to emerge in the background, giving you a taste of what is to come in the following tracks. These loops are most prominent in my favourite track from the album, and favourite track of the year so far, Breathe Deeper, with an addictive groove that is so blatant and perfectly smooth in its delivery. I have never been one for outros that come after the denouement of a song, yet it works tremendously in the context of this track. The hook is even incorporated into the outro of the following track, Tomorrow’s Dust, just in case you couldn’t get enough of it the first time round. The whole album flows well and is best appreciated when listened to linearly.
This is not a mere collection of songs thrown together; a lot of thought has been put into the structure of the record. It is itself a story, and a damn entertaining one at that.