Tame Impala combines psychedelic rock with a pop landscape

Tom Antrim, Staff Writer

Courtesy of Tame Impala

It has been just over a year since Kevin Parker released his fourth studio album, “The Slow Rush.”

His last album was six years ago when he released the brilliant and outstanding “Currents.”

In “The Slow Rush” album, Tame Impala incorporates similar thumping bass lines, dreamy synth sounds and groovy musical compositions that were highly praised on “Currents.”

But this time around, Tame Impala creates a more pop landscape.

There are still themes of psychedelic rock intertwined on this record, but Parker has transformed his persona into an indie pop star.

Whether it be adapting to the surge of popularity that “Currents” brought, or trying to change up the musical scenery, it works out nicely.

The tracks are catchy, atmospheric, emotional and heartfelt.

Tame Impala knows how to craft albums that convey these emotions, as they have been for 13 years now.

There are some stand-out tracks on this album such as “Lost in Yesterday,” “One More Year,” “Borderline” and “Is It True”.

“One More Year” is a solid opener for this album, as it sets the mood for the rest of the record quite well.

The track opens with a blissful sound effect that feels like falling into a blanket of euphoria.

This sample lingers throughout the entirety of the track that creates a nice blanket of warmth and accompanies the other instruments well.

Parker’s ability to make sad music while making slightly upbeat instrumentals that create an atmosphere of relaxation never fails to amaze me.

A major theme of this record is the concept of time and reflecting on the past; Parker seems to be concerned with constantly running out of time.

Throughout the course of this track, Parker confesses the paranoia that consumes him regarding running out of time.

He feels trapped in a constant cycle of doing the same thing day in and day out.

“But now I worry our horizons bear nothing new. ‘Cause I get this feeling and maybe you get it too. We are on a roller coaster stuck on its loop-de-loop. ‘Cause what we did, one day on a whim, will slowly become all we do.”

“Lost in Yesterday” is one of the catchiest songs on the record.

The song starts with a warm synth that gradually incorporates zinging notes and a punching bass line.

Parker starts singing around the 16-second mark with lyrical messages revolving around the possibility of bad situations producing a positive outcome.

In the chorus on this track, the 35-year-old Australian questions, “Cause it might’ve been something, who’s to say? Does it help to get lost in yesterday?”

It seems that he is trying to tell the listener to embrace opportunities when they are granted as he reminisces on his past when Tame Impala was not playing in stadiums or gigantic arenas.

While describing when the world was simpler for him, he is also stating that the success has been rewarding and that he’s glad he took the chance.

Another standout track is “Borderline.”

The track opens with a beat that reminds me of classic 90s rap, and then Parker’s voice kicks in and the melody pulls the listener in.

Tame Impala masters the 70s and 80s-esque that was present on previous releases, but even more so on this record.

While the verses during this album are good, the choruses make themselves heard.

During the chorus of “Borderline,” Parker is questioning if he will be surrounded by people that love him and want him around. He is yearning to be surrounded by people that will make him feel a sense of security.

This album is a way for Parker to try and reach some conclusions to questions that have been bothering him.

“The Slow Rush” is a pop record that many people can enjoy from different music backgrounds.

The songs are somewhat addicting and they will be stuck in your head for days, as they are anything but short of catchiness and emotional depth.

Tame Impala has a catalog of punchy, smooth basslines. But “Is It True” might have the best basslines on the entire record.

The song opens with bass guitar and drums, a synth is gradually added and Parker’s vocals start echoing around the 20-second mark.

The ninth track on the record is a love song about a woman who wants to take things further with Parker, but he’s afraid of his infatuation with her.

“I’m so terrified to face her, like any moment I might wake up. ‘Cause she’s the only thing I think of, I don’t know nothing, but I love her.”

The four-minute duration of this song flies by with the catchy grooves, thumping bass and brilliant placed synths.

The eleventh track on this album, “Glimmer,” is a two-minute instrumental with an occasional echo from Parker.

While the track is quite simple and nothing extremely memorable, it creates a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere.

However, it would have been nice to see Parker take the track a bit further in duration and add more pieces to the puzzle.

This track would probably be a standout song on the album if he added more texture and depth.

The synths are what bring so much pleasure to the ears, and it’s hard not to imagine overlooking a major city from a glass window at night while listening to this song.

“Glimmer” is similar to “Nangs” that was released on “Currents.” Both tracks are short in length, incorporate atmospheric synths and feature Parker singing a recurring lyric throughout the song.

While this album is solid in most aspects, there are a couple tracks that seem like they are filler tracks and do not add much flavor or variety.

One track that immediately comes to mind is “Breathe Deeper.” The track is repetitive, and Parker sings the same lyrics for a good portion of the song.

The instrumentals are solid, and the chorus is decent, but the track does not add anything new or exciting to the album.

The track is just over six minutes when it could be shortened into two or three minutes due to the lack of depth and excitement.

The last minute or so of the track is the most enjoyable part of the song.

The bouncing synths and guitars make your brain feel like it is swirling inside your head, and the ending of the track engulfs you, so it is the only thing you can focus on.

But, besides the ending of “Breathe Deeper,” the rest of the track is actually quite boring and nothing memorable.

Overall, this album is enjoyable and Tame Impala progressed their sound with the release of “The Slow Rush.”

This album picked up right where “Currents” left off, while adding more texture and pop sensibilities.

I enjoyed this album for the most part, but I think some tracks could have been eliminated and others could have included more parts and texture.

“Currents” is arranged better, and the songs mesh better than they do on “The Slow Rush.”

However, Tame Impala’s latest release is right up there with the rest of Parker’s catalog.

Hopefully on the next record, there will be less filler tracks and Impala will take their music in a new direction outside that of “Currents” and “The Slow Rush.”