Tame Impala has been simultaneously one of the most influential and highly underrated music acts of our time. With the 2010 release of their seminal debut album, ‘Innerspeaker’, Tame Impala (led by reclusive genius Kevin Parker) reintroduced the independent music scene to the hard-hitting, otherworldly sound of 1970’s psychedelia. Standouts like “Solitude Is Bliss” and “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind” take you on a journey of introspection and welcomed loneliness.
As the title of their sophomore album, ‘Lonerism’ suggests, Kevin Parker further explores solitude and existential reflection to the tune of raging guitar riffs, which have been heralded as some of the best of the decade. “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” dominated 2012’s End of the Year lists, and “Elephant” became a football stadium staple on college campuses all across America.
But strangely enough, Tame Impala’s innovative yet retro sound has yet to truly meet the mainstream.
Parker has largely abandoned spaced out, fuzzy guitars in favor of sparkling pop perfection on the 13 track reinvention of the psych band we knew so well.
When the album opener and leading single “Let it Happen” was released in March, the blogs went NUTS. We had the Grateful Dead- era classic rocker emerge from a 3 year hiatus with a squeaky clean, 8 minute epic pop song- and it was perfect. The track was an exhibition of production at its finest; distorted vocals, insane loops, wobbling base; all culminating in an explosion of Daft Punk- esque synth guitar bliss.
While decidedly pop, the album never loses the psychedelic atmosphere we’ve grown to love. In fact, it throws it into full throttle with woozy baselines, funk-dusted synth, and languid 70’s drum beats- leaving us somewhere between psych-roc and R&B.
The album as a whole is kind of a farewell to an ex-lover, or even former self. Lyrics explore the process of “finding yourself” through the end of a relationship, but without any pretension or cliche. Songs like “‘Cause I’m a Man” let us peek into Parker’s ideas surrounding the reconciliation of romance, introversion, and masculinity; confessing “Don’t always think before I do,” as both a rationalization and apology for his lack of consideration, (something I find highly relatable).
“Nangs,” while only 1:47 long, is another kind of exhibition, this time showcasing Parker’s ability to create lush soundscapes by taking leaves from the pages of many different genres, namely hip hop, IDM, and psych.
Early standouts include:
“Yes I’m Changing”
‘Currents’ is available to stream on NPR, Spotify, and is available to purchase on iTunes.