Sophomore slump is not an issue for Tame Impala
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 23:10
Australia’s Tame Impala, much like other contemporary psychedelic rock bands, returns to the sounds of their forefathers of psychedelic rock rooted in the 60’s and 70’s.
To start, Kevin Parker sounds a lot like the ghost of John Lennon. His voice is coated in a heavenly reverberation. The guitars are run through countless effect pedals and explode from ancient tube amps. The steady drumbeats that unravel into elaborate fills and groovy bass lines are the epitome of retro. So why even bother listening to some revivalist hippy band? Because Parker (who wrote, performed, and recorded every aspect of “Lonerism”) has effectively constructed an album with the spirit of his psychedelic forefathers and the technical advances of the new millennium that elevates the genre to unforeseen heights. “Lonerism” sounds huge.
“Lonerism” finds Parker exploring the feelings of – you guessed it – loneliness. The album opens with, “Be Above It,” an ode to the therapeutic nature of telling yourself “I’ll just close my eyes and make it so that all these things don’t affect me now.” The song begins with the title’s mantra repeated as crushing drums and echoing guitar chords build a hypnotic atmosphere. By the end of the song this strange atmosphere will take over your senses and transport you into the world that is “Lonerism.” The epic “Apocalypse Dreams” is a patchwork of catchy refrains where Parker sings “am I getting closer, will I ever get there, does it even matter?” The climax of the song found at the closing minutes is an epic buildup of waves of synthesizers and powerful guitar blasts that would make it okay if the world ended now.
“Keep on Lying” is simply one long jam where synth lines build a carnival-esque rhythm while fuzzy bass lines and the chattering of strangers makes for a surreal experience. Moments like these adds to “Lonerism’s” world and the dynamics of slow jams where the music lets the listener breath is what makes the album an expansive listen.
There isn’t a bad moment found on the album. “Elephant” starts off as a Black Keys rip off before Kevin Parker mixes up the formula with a bridge that follows the band through space travel. The production of the song builds into laser-beam guitar lines and synths that sound like planets smashing into each other. My personal favorite, “Why Won’t They Talk To Me” is the closest song that resembles a clear cut strong structure but bursts with strange synth sounds and an incredibly catchy melody. Where the album’s lyrics focus on the desolate feelings that the world can bring an individual, the music is so experimental and spellbinding that it creates an incredibly unique sound. There is nothing not to like about “Lonerism.” Although it can be an overwhelming listen, the passion that Parker has put into a genre that should be past its expiration date is transcendent. This has “Album of the Year” written all over it.