It’s already that time of year when critics begin to list the best albums of the year. The NME has just published its list of top fifty albums on its website and I was pleased to find that they have placed Perth band Tame Impala at number one for their album Lonerism. Whether the NME is relevant these days or not doesn’t matter, what counts is that the accolade is deserved. No doubt the album will be towards the top of most magazines best of lists, oh and perhaps Pitchfork as well, maybe they’ll give it a 9.2 or something.
Lonerism is a superb blast of deep psychedelia. If their debut – Innerspeaker, sounds like the inflation of the universe, then Lonerism is the equivalent of white light passing through a prism, revealing itself as a rainbow of colours (such cosmic clichés are necessary when it comes to Tame Impala, just to keep up the established tradition).
Lonerism has been reviewed to the nth degree since its release a few months ago, so I will not bother to add to the collection. All I can say is that like The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Tame Impala take old musical tropes and make them sound new again. But really it’s lazy and inaccurate to think of them as being retro. They are making a kind of psychedelic music, but it’s more rooted in the tradition of The Flaming Lips, rather than any late 60’s band.Comparisons are a moot point though, because Tame Impala have minted their own sound and have backed it up with superb songwriting.
Tame Impala’s music is made for vinyl, with its deeply layered arrangements and a guitar sound that’s like fairy-floss being melted and stretched. The production is warm and full and although many of the instruments sound heavily treated, it’s not an over-produced album. It demands multiple listens to really appreciate its quality, so get out and buy a pressing and give it a spin. If you get the vinyl version you can also check out more easily what all those people are doing on the cover, which looks like it was shot in France. The back cover looks like Kevin Parker’s bedroom in Perth, where he single-handedly recorded much of the album. Looks like he had fun.
Also check out just why my hometown scene is worthy of attention and why Pond is right up there with Tame Impala. Then have a look at some of the highlights from Lonerism on Youtube, not as good as vinyl, but you’ll have to sort that out for yourself: It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards, Elephant, Why Won’t They Talk To Me? and Apocalypse Dreams.
I get to see them live for the first time in ages on December 15 in Fremantle – lucky me!
|Sometimes the band had to line up for the back stage toilet|