I write this review, for Tame Impala’s sophomore effort Lonerism, immediately after having reviewed both Grizzly Bear’s Shields, followed by the Killers’ Battle Born, albums on opposite ends of the spectrum. One, filled with beauty, the other with…well.
I go into Tame Impala’s new record positively moist with anticipation. Innerspeaker was a triumph for Australian music and Lonerism is set up to be similar. The opening track featuring the repetition of the lyric “gotta be above it” was fitting, after my experience with the Killers. Because these guys really did need to be above it.
Don’t worry, they are.
“Be Above It” is psychedelic rock at its finest showcasing the creativity of Australian music at the moment. “Endors Toi”, tells us to “go to sleep, you’ll be fine”. It’s kind of hard when the timbre of the guitar swirls around your ears in a beautiful amalgamation of fuzzy bass lines and grandiose keyboards.
Maybe it’s the residue of Grizzly Bear in my ears, but I do hear some of their sound in this record. Simple piano trills backing a baroque style melody. The key difference here, is that Tame Impala have taken such influences and mashed them in with the shoegaze stylings of bands like My Bloody Valentine. Just hopefully not as loudly live. Six minute epic “Apocalpyse Dreams” epitomizes such sentiments with its courageous layer and mastering, alloing each and every note to be drawn out for as long as possible until its final, possible hint of audibility.
Whilst a lot of the album sounds kind of similar, it’s not a sound that one simply gets tired of hearing as the band manage to reinvent it time and time again. “Music to Walk Home By” is a much more upbeat rendition of the Tame Impala’s signature psychedelic tone.
Space age samples precipitate the album’s centerfold “Why Won’t They Talk To Me?” which is as close as the band will ever get to mainstream radio play. What’s bizarre about this particular track is that it feels as though it wouldn’t be out of place on the Preset’s latest record Pacifica with it’s dreamy vocalisation and synchronised melodies.
“Elephant” was released a couple of weeks ago, and it’s driving bass line makes for the rockiest effort on the album with a constant beat that explodes into a synthesised groove that will get live crowds up and dancing in no time.
Album closer, “Sun’s Coming Up” is reminiscent, melodically, to the Beatles classic “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”, perhaps unsurprisingly. It’s honky tonk introduction sets the track up for a long and drawn out crescendo. Instead, it flourishes into a bizarre arrangement of sound effects, befitting of Radiohead’s track “The Gloaming”.
Ultimately, this album is hard to flaw, it does everything it sets out to do so well. It’s superbly trippy, vaguely melancholic but above all else a very pleasurable listening experience. Serve this album up with a garnish of high quality over the ear headphones, you’ll need them to full grasp the beauty of this release.