Tame Impala is a psychedelic rock group, though most of the music is written and recorded alone by frontman Kevin Parker. The group won widespread critical acclaim with the release of their debut album “Innerspeaker” in 2010, channeling the influences of 60s and 70s psychedelic rock.
The Australian rockers are back with their sophomore album, and they have never sounded better. “Lonerism” is a blissful trip through psychedelic rock that is introspective, dreamy and fun to listen to.
The album opens up with “Be Above It,” featuring the whispering vocals of “gotta be above it” repeated over and over to the cadence of the fidgety drumbeat. The song then presents an extremely distorted guitar chord that only comes in every so often, but somehow compliments the spastic drum beat exceptionally well.
“Apocalypse Dreams” is an expansive six-minute song with a catchy bass line, some piano and unfurling guitar. Parker’s introspection continues as he sings, “Well, am I getting closer? Will I ever get there? Does it even matter?” The last few minutes of the song have no vocals, but showcase the swirling guitar and psychedelic groove of the song.
“Lonerism” is everything that the band did well with on “Innerspeaker,” just more expansive and produced better. Everything sounds incredibly crisp and well layered. The album features more synthesizers, but their sound remains rooted in psychedelic rock of the past.
“Why Won’t They Talk To Me?” is one of the more somber tracks on the record. Parker’s short choppy sentences further alienate him as he sings, “Out of the zone / Trying to see / I'm so alone / Nothing for me / I guess I'll go home / Try to be sane / Try to pretend / None of it happened / Oh this old tree / Lonely old me / Whoops-a-daisy / I thought I was happy.” Trippy synthesizers make up the backdrop for the music, only adding to the song’s ambiance.
The first single off the album is “Elephant.” The song features a heavy guitar riff and a straightforward drum beat before it breaks midway through the song when the guitar fluctuates more and becomes more spacey. The song is about a person with a huge ego, as Parker sings, “He pulled the mirrors off his Cadillac / ‘Cause he doesn’t like it looking like he looks back / He talks like his opinion is a simple fact.”
The album’s closer “Sun’s Coming Up” is the most distinct track from the album, as it opens with nothing but piano and Parker singing for the first two and a half minutes. The comparisons to John Lennon are likely to abound even further with this track as Parker sounds incredibly similar to The Beatles’ legend. The song breaks off halfway through and turns into nothing but a hazy, spastic guitar and strange background noise.
Tame Impala certainly met the lofty expectations placed on them after “Innerspeaker,” and seemingly exceeded them with “Lonerism.” The music harkens back to the days of Pink Floyd and The Beatles, sounding vintage but somehow fresh all at the same time. “Lonerism” is definitely worth listening to, leaving listeners hoping for more.
Also out this week:
MellowHype - “Numbers”
MellowHype, consisting of rapper Hodgy Beats and producer Left Brain, is a subsidiary group of the OFWGKTA collective. The duo has already released two albums, “YelloWhite” and “BlackenedWhite,” and is gearing up to release their third album, “Numbers.” Fans of Odd Future Records will be excited to have another release on their hands.
Trash Talk - “119”
This is a big week for Odd Future Records, as they will also be releasing “119” from the newly signed hardcore punk band Trash Talk. Trash Talk is known for its exceptionally short and blisteringly fast songs. The 14 tracks on “119” clock in at a total of only 23 minutes.