The Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala aren’t newcomers to the game. Their debut LP, Innerspeaker, which was released in 2010, garnered general and critical acclaim. While it did have a very nostalgic feel with the 60’s psychedelic rock influences, it still had a new and unique sound with the addition of a modern-day perspective. It put the spotlight on a young talented songwriter by the name of Kevin Parker. While live, Tame Impala perform as a band, in the studio, Parker records and plays every instrument.
Music was always a big part of Parker’s life; he started playing the guitar and drums at a young age. In 2005, Parker formed the basis of what would become Tame Impala. At first called the Dee Dee Dums, this band went on to achieve some local acclaim by winning various music competitions. After some band member changes, Parker changed the name of the band to Tame Impala. While the Dee Dee Dums were more hard-rock influences, reminiscent of the band Cream, Tame Impala would showcase Parker’s more dream-like and psychedelic songwriting.
It didn’t take long until the Australian based label Modular Recordings signed them in 2008, in which they soon after released their self-titled debut EP. The EP went number one on the Australian music charts and the band toured in support of the Black Keys, MGMT and Yeasayer. And with success of the EP and Innerspeaker looming over them, Tame Impala just released their sophomore effort titled Lonerism back in the beginning of October.
Does the new album live up to the hype? Absolutely. If you want an album full of the most ingenious, dreamy and beautiful melodies out right now, then this is the album for you. While Innerspeaker was more hard rock, Lonerism has a larger pop undertone. Synths and keyboards play a larger element in formulating the melodies while the guitars generally stick to the rhythm. This prevents Lonerism from seeming recycled and allows it to stand out from Innerspeaker in its own way. The song “Feels Like We Are Only Going Backwards,” which has a melody sculpted entirely with synths and a groovy bass line, has the most incredible chorus, lyrically and musically. Meanwhile, the second song of the album, “Endors Toi,” starts off with a mind-melting synth instrumental and finishes with an awesome distorted guitar solo. The song “Nothing That Has Happened…” contains one the most epic guitar/synth instrumentals I have heard in a while.
Lyrically, the ideas of struggling with love and being alone in the world are still present. However, despite this, the change in ideas toward melody on Lonerism gives a different take on said lyrical themes. Parker is not just moping around “whining” about the same things mentioned in Innerspeaker. He has gone through much since Innerspeaker and those new experiences, perspectives and Parker’s own personal growth are present in the songs lyrics.
In the end, I highly recommend them. Tame Impala are something new and refreshing and are just on a new wavelength of good.