It’s been a little under two years since Tame Impala released their debut album Innerspeaker, and they never seem to disappoint.
Lonerism is a spiral of psychedelic mind-melting guitar and synth coinciding in the perfect moment in space and time and an overall explosive symphony of noise and listening pleasure.
It took me a couple of listens to get into the opening track “Be Above It,” but this is an ideal example of psychedelic rock, warping through an alternate universe, only propelled by the simple drum beat and the mantra to “be above it” that carries through the entire song, driven further along by space-warping bass explosions throughout.
It feels as though they drop into each track with such power they couldn’t possibly do it again. But they do.
It’s easy to lose yourself in the self-indulgent synth intros of songs like “Endors Toi” even before the drums kick and the dreamy vocals of Kevin Parker wash over you as an errant wave would, and it does “work like a charm.”
“Apocalypse Dreams” carries like a train before dropping back into exactly what you wouldn’t expect. And you can feel the momentum behind it, too, even as it fades into the next track.
The unifying element of this album seems to be Tame Impala’s strong drumbeats, carrying the song forward while the rest of the band seems to be descending into some sort of groovy black hole.
Beyond the mind bending splendor of the opening three tracks, Tame Impala even takes a step into a more introspective, contemplative sound with tracks like “Why Won’t They Talk To Me,” which opens up into a grand, open chorus before descending into vocal bass lines and acoustic guitar towards the end.
Parts of Lonerism, like “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, feel as though I’m only going backwards – it almost seems as though I’ve stumbled onto the song on some obscure radio station in the late ‘60s, which isn’t to say they aren’t adding anything innovative to the genre. The ability to emulate a sound and repurpose it is a skill that displays that music is still evolving.
Something unforgettable however is the single “Elephant” – “shaking his big gray trunk for the hell of it.” This is a nice break from the rest of “Lonerism,” acting as a bit of a throwback to their older work, emulating a lot of the sounds that worked well in “Half Full Glass of Wine” and “Solitude is Bliss” with a new twist.
The piano-based piece that closes off the album leads us into a new day before falling into the remnants of what once was with reverb-laden synth and the wind whipping through a microphone before the random ambience overwhelms everything – a sort of poetic justice on the part of the band. By the time the album comes to a close, silence becomes a new sensation – a new form of music.
But don’t let that deter you. Just sit back, close your eyes, and let Tame Impala take you away.