Tame Impala: The Slow Rush
Like the desert landscape filling a vacant living room on the cover of Tame Impala’s fourth LP, the sands of time rise quickly—somehow half a decade disappeared between Currents and its breathlessly awaited follow-up. But you can hear the influence of Kevin Parker, the project’s mastermind and lone studio musician, in every corner of the industry—from kindred psych spirits (King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard) to mega-stars looking to get weird (Rihanna, who covered “New Person, Same Old Mistakes;” Lady Gaga, who recruited him to co-write her song “Perfect Illusion”). Parker’s music has become an omnipresent reference point, his loping drum grooves and reverb-bathed falsetto part of a package that feels distinctly his. And that’s the challenge he faces on The Slow Rush: If “Tame Impala” is now an adjective in the pop vernacular, should he highlight what’s already there or add a new definition? His answer: both. Each Parker album features a new wrinkle: the synths on 2012’s Lonerism, the electronics and sculpted hooks of Currents. And his latest brings out even more of the dreamy R&B and dance elements lurking on the fringes of his recent work, all colored by the usual LSD-trip production. The growling vocoder and electronic bass that pulse through “One More Year,” the breezy flute and spiky keys of “Borderline,” the glassy disco piano that underpins his descending hook on “Breathe Deeper”—these are the touches of a master craftsman deliberately channeling his funkier side. “It ain’t as fun as it used to be,” he croons over Supertramp-style electric piano and a heartbeat drum machine on “It Might Be Time.” The grooves argue otherwise.