Tame Impala - The Slow Rush
Feb 14, 2020 (updated Feb 14, 2020)
85
The Slow Rush is finally here! It’s been an especially long five years, but you know what that means, no more days of wondering what the release date would be and uselessly longing for new material. We can finally sink our figurative teeth into this fresh new batch of tracks! Do i sound overly obsessed? Maybe. Now, on to the review. It’s a doozy.

Starting off, Australian multi-instrumentalist Tame Impala (Kevin Parker) is one of my favorite artists of all time, his music speaks to me in ways few artists have, without going into too much detail, Parker’s music draws a fine line between clean-cut pop and rock music that is like an old car with a new paint-job, as he is inspired by artists such as Supertramp and The Bee Gees. Tame Impala has always seemed to have been a project that has stayed, relatively underground in a sort of halfway point between exploding in the charts and being an indie icon. On several occasions Tame Impala has enjoyed airplay in the titular“rock” category of the charts with of course, “Let it Happen” off of “Currents” in 2015. I’ve always thought of a Tame Impala project as more of an album experience anyway. That is not to say the singles don’t hold up on their own, they do, I just personally enjoy listening to the full albums instead.

Furthermore, I view Tame Impala, as one of the best “alternatives” to what is on the radio. There is a level of musical artisanship within his one-of-a-kind brand of pop-rock, psychedelia, and synth-pop, in which he is constantly manipulating. That also is reflected with his attention to detail in the narratives that he constructs, making the music seem all the more genuine and down to earth, than the many songs that grace the radio everyday, in all their meaningless money-making, mayhem. Reminiscent of artists from generations past who developed their own unique sound while being accessible.

Throughout the years the evolution of Tame Impala has definitely been an interesting one to follow, with his stunning debut InnerSpeaker that displayed Kevin wearing his influences proudly on his sleeves, while simultaneously bringing his own sound to the table, which is what then developed into Lonerism, his first in my opinion, bonafide masterpiece. Lonerism, was such an electrifying and bold offering with songs like Elephant, Apocalypse Dreams, and Why Won’t They Talk To Me, that showed the singular sounds of psychedelic rock, Kevin had polished and perfected. Every Tame Impala album seems to be crafted in the greatest care, as usually there is a gap of about two years in between. 2015, was an especially big year as well with the release of Currents, as it was a complete from the top down transformation into synth-pop, turning out to be a successful and worthwhile endeavor, even though it was drastic change in style,

Concerning how Mr. Parker is always trying to fool his listeners, on InnerSpeaker, many people thought Kevin was utilizing synthesizers as a primary instrument, but it was actually the sound of altered guitars. However on currents he embraced synths to the max, with lush and massive electric arrangements. The album was also a further continuation of his explorations into rhythm with his affinity for everything concerning drums. Songs like Let it Happen, and The Less i Know the better will forever be engraved in my memory, with their vibrant choruses and colorfully trippy production. I can remember the first time listening to Currents and being completely mesmerized by its consistency and Kevin Parker’s virtuosity, in masterminding all of the instruments on the record. Parker, really does embody the ideology of “quality over quantity”. Would it be possible for him to retain that same consistency on his next project?

At the beginning of the last decade Tame Impala, entered the music scene, and birthed one of the most successful and as we have seen, one of the most original musical acts, and even now in 2020 at the start of this fresh new decade, he still has more to offer,The Slow Rush, as one of his best efforts yet.

Impressed with every one of the singles that were released, teasing the coming of the new album all the way back when the first song “Borderline” was dropped a year ago, i was not disappointed with any of them, as they all seemed to point to a more refined and reflective sound the themes his previous albums had presented. It has also seemed that with every release, the lyricism has gotten even more personal and self-reflective, beginning with the introspection of Lonerism, and building from there. However don’t go into it expecting a dramatic change, but you can expect heartfelt and deeply personal lyrics. In a lot of ways The Slow Rush is the pinnacle of what Kevin has tried to accomplish, this past decade. Interestingly enough this is somewhat reflective of the title, as it has been a slow but satisfying rush to mastery.

Every single track on this thing sounds like it has been thoughtfully marinated, with each instrument methodically composed, and layered. Since Currents, Kevin’s bass work has become more flexible, with the unison of the drums. In an interview prior to the release of the album, he has stated that drumming and rhythm are two of his most important musical components. The guitar work however is the least used instrument on The Slow Rush, as synths, drums and bass are mainly the focal point. To me, it doesn’t downgrade the effort, because guitars were such a precedent instrument before and to hear other instrumental palates is quite interesting. In a world where everything is becoming more digitized by the day, it is refreshing to hear, Kevin utilize, organic and live-instrumentation, whenever possible.

Somewhat of a concept album, The Slow Rush begins with the song “One More Year”, and ends with “One More Hour”, this lead me to believe the concept of time was something important behind many of the songs, an apparent sense of longing and regret, is prevalent throughout.

“Did you ever think I’d know, never wise-up as i grow?, Did you hope I’d never doubt, Never one day work it out?”-Posthumous Forgiveness.

“Cause it has to be lost in yesterday, And you’re gonna have to let it go someday, you’ve been digging it up like a ground-hog, cause it might have been something, don’t say, cause it has to stay lost in yesterday.”-Lost in Yesterday

“It might be time to face it”- song of the same name

It is the result of many years of experimentation that has led to this well-groomed sound. In comparison to Currents, TSR, is not has synth-immersive, meaning the synths on TSR are not nearly as enveloping, they are generally more light and aromatic. Side by side though, they do complement each other effectively. It is just that on TSR, the sounds are generally maturer, rounded and contemplative, but this time significantly more funkier. Opening track “One More Year”, is quite different as opposed to previous album openers, as it sets the stage with Its swirling melodies and 4/4 beat, I will say it is not as solid as was hoping it to be. It is also the tenderly romantic introspection of the second track ”Instant Destiny”, the “Currents” similar, “Borderline”-“Caught between the tides of pain and rapture”, the multi-faceted and emotional sound of “Posthumous Forgiveness” as Kevin painfully sings about his fathers passing, which is one of the most heartbreakingly brilliant moments on the album, both instrumentally and lyrically. From there we continue to be carried deeper through this world of funky-synth pop “Breathe Deeper” with Supertramp-like piano passages, wistful atmospheres filling “Tomorrow’s Dust”-
[Refrain]
“I was tied by your memory
Like it's someone else, like it wasn't me
And a second chance I'll be more impressed
And the day will come and then it will pass”

Continued with “On Track”, a sort of breather, where we the listener in the middle of the record can get our bearings together and realize the beauty swirling around us.

The other half of TSR, is equally as impressive as the first half, with another dose of passionate and quality tracks. The last four tracks however seem to even more dive into themes of time and regret, especially with “It might be time”. The album finally concluded with One More Hour, similar to how the record began, reflects how time slowly dwindles and when putting things off too long happenings will inevitably come sooner than one thinks, until there is only “One More Hour”, till it is completely over.

I enjoyed The Slow Rush quite a bit its not an incredibly revolutionary and radical project, but is very effective in presenting varied, consistent and overall finely tuned songs . That have enough pizzazz and accessible features to go around. It is the result and outcome of Kevin Parker’s efforts both in the studio and touring, that includes some of the most quality and refreshing pop songs of the year, that challenges the listener through the words and music. Tame Impala is bringing back, pop music that boasts good musicianship, that is both enjoyable and effective. Just like when reading a good book, how every chapter seems to get better and better, so it is with the progression of Tame Impala. Strictly speaking he is still on track.

If you have arrived here at the end, you deserve some sort of an award 🏆
3 Comments
Feb 14, 2020
3 years?
Feb 15, 2020
Great review, I hope to write something as good as this, reflecting my opinion on this album. Tame Impala is a great artist to have as a favorite, it's exciting to hear his progression from each record. I wasn't as big on this one, but I'll be returning to it often, and that could change.
Feb 15, 2020
@Matty so kind of you, I’ve been actually anticipating what you have to say about it! I’ll be on the lookout for that. Indeed, an artists progression is something I try to highlight and pinpoint in my reviews.
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