Tame Impala / Lonerism
It's time to believe the hype, says James F. Thompson
Tame Impala founder and front man Kevin Parker has called this record his paean to loneliness. The idea being that as the longtime loner has ratcheted through the fame notches over the past couple of years he’s actually come to identify with the outside world even less than he already did.
Well, if this is what loneliness sounds like, leave me in a dark room and turn up the volume on your way out. The Aussie psych-rockers have delivered a beefier and bigger second album that marries a more accessible pop aesthetic with an altogether heavier execution than on their debut, 2010’s ‘Innerspeaker’.
Tracks like ‘Mind Mischief’ and single ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ are equal parts Abbey Road-era Beatles, Flaming Lips and art rock outfit Autolux. Subtlety is out. Busy bass lines, sludgy guitar work and vintage synths are definitely in (just listen to the extended, whirling coda on ‘Keep On Lying’).
Not everything works. ‘Be Above It’ and ‘Sun’s Coming Up’ sound more like idle tinkering in the studio than fitting album bookends, and ‘She Just Won’t Believe Me’ goes nowhere slowly.
When things do click into gear though, as on the appropriately stomping single ‘Elephant’ and much of the rest of the album, Tame Impala remind us that there’s more to life than people. There’s music.
James F. Thompson