Tame Impala - The Slow Rush
Feb 14, 2020
91
When I wrote about Innerspeaker I discussed a conversation that I had with a local record store owner about how the albums of Tame Impala represented different decades of music. Innerspeaker exists as an homage to 60s psychedelic rock music, with a distinct garage feel - still incorporating the heavy perfectionist production employed by mastermind Kevin Parker but still working more with some distorted elements. Lonerism moves towards a more 70s style of psychedelic rock, with even heavier production and an even deeper level of layers and intricacy than its predecessor. Currents then starts to buck the straight up psychedelic side of Tame Impala, moving toward an 80s-infused synth heavy neo-psychedelic pop sound. This of course makes logical sense as psychedelic rock was moving out from the popular sphere of music by the 80s, and so there isn't such a distinct psychedelic rock sound that existed within that era of music, at least not as heavily as the decades prior.

At the time I had joked that it would be funny if somehow the next Tame Impala album would shift into the 90s in some fashion. I deliberately kept this in mind while listening to The Slow Rush, and although I can catch elements that I might be able to convince myself follow the pattern, The Slow Rush essentially exists within its own vacuum in time and feels like it bucks the theory more than the obvious pattern of the previous three records.

This is largely due to just how much Tame Impala has moved away from its psychedelic roots, just like music has shifted away from that sound in its own right. Instead, what we are left with is essentially an incredibly complex and layered pop album, borrowing from synth pop and psychedelia but entirely difficult to encapsulate into exactly one or even multiple boxes.

The Slow Rush is an astoundingly intricate piece of music, now five years removed from the third record from Tame Impala in Currents and plenty of time to hone in on the sound and direction desired for this follow up. The album still has plenty of groove laced into the tracks, but there are far more instances of dance and from my listening even club moments. The synth elements featured on Currents are still heavily center stage on this record but feel distinct from that record in many ways; not precisely a continuation of the same sound but at the very least still inspired by the same places.

The opening track, One More Year, immediately gives a glimmer of what to expect from The Slow Rush, with a almost chillwave style of background textures and a smooth tempo that reminds me of something like Washed Out. A song like Breathe Deeper focuses in on a similar groove but at a more upbeat pace. Another track that stands out heavily is the closer, One More Hour, an epic closer that feels perhaps the closest to the sound of Lonerism that the album could come to while still feeling fully at home on this record.

Many tracks here also come to a halt, then shift into even more in a jolting yet satisfying direction. It gives this sense of discontinuation to tracks that at first you feel had come to a sensible conclusion but then somehow still have more to say. It creates a sense of intrigue to the album that I'm not used to from Tame Impala or elsewhere.

I come away from The Slow Rush far more satisfied than I could have expected. Kevin Parker continues to be one of the most essential artists in modern music, a true voice in a world where it feels like the listener is fed easy to digest music. Perhaps some will argue that The Slow Rush is the easiest to digest record yet by Tame Impala, but that simply ignores the deep layers that exist within every track of this album. It's sure to be one of the most exciting albums of the year, and fans of the project should walk away from The Slow Rush with feelings of hope and honest elation that music like this can exist.

Favorite track: Breathe Deeper
6 Comments
Feb 14, 2020
I think that’s a great thing to take away from this: this is a great listen on both, the surface level AND if you’re trying to deep dive. This is TI’s most lyrically intricate album imo but it can kind of get swept away by the doubly intricate layers upon layers of sounds. It sounds great but it also has a lot of substance to offer if you want it. Everybody wins! AOTY!!
Feb 14, 2020
And nice review, btw. Sorry to hijack, you got me all excited again.
Feb 14, 2020
I don't feel hijacked one bit! Great additional thoughts from someone both excited about the album and critically thinking about it! I find that I rarely review lyricism as much as I should on albums, but I agree that the lyrical content across this album is a whole additional intricacy to dive into here and something I will be mulling over more and more.
6d ago
Great review! I agree also on breathe deeper being the best track but its all just great from start to finish. The closest i can get to label this album anyways is by saying that it reminds me of the sound of "miami horror" ("real slow" is a good example)
5d ago
people like you make the site more enjoyable, thank you for this review

-catto friend
5d ago
Real Slow is definitely a good example, that is a solid observation.

Thanks catto friend! I try my best to make my reviews enjoyable. I'm glad you feel that way about them.
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More Reviews by MasterCrackfox
Tame Impala - Currents
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Tame Impala - Lonerism
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Tame Impala - Innerspeaker
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