Lonerism (2012) ★ ★ ★ ★
It's been a long wait since 2009's Innerspeaker but Tame Impala are back with their distinct psychedelic tunes and sweeping melodies. There is even less of a pop structure to these tracks, the band's certainly not heading in the indie pop direction. Even so, it's hard not to appreciate the fragile vocals strung above a rhythmic bass, surging chorus and heavy electric guitar pulling together all the best parts of each genre of music: rock 'n' roll, acid rock, pop, folk and electronica.
Kevin Parker (frontman) thinks like an electronic producer and writes like an artist. Lonerism is deeply rooted in heavy instrumental tracks with a concealed seamlessness between tracks. The layering and textural elements are off the roof, developing the classic Tame Impala sound into a deeper swirling vortex. It's easy to get lost in the sonic sound but there's an apparent influence from classic psychedelics and the Beatles here. 'Mind Mischief' is reminiscent of Revolver with its group harmonies and loopy poetic lyrics. Tame Impala harness the spirit of 60s pop and 70s rock groove without emulating the same sound, they create one all their own.
From the get go the lyrics are introspective, thoughtful and enigmatic: “Are you too terrified to try your best/ Just to end up with an educated guess?” Single 'Apocalypse Dreams' was the first released off the album in July to great success but doesn't quite represent the complexity of Lonerism in full. There are melodies which rise and fall naturally in synch with instrumental and vocal components. It is a shame that most of the lyrics are lost in the overwhelming surreal sound but it's an album to delve into...to discover as you go along, to listen to at different times and in different moods.
Tame Impala bring in the new age synth and keyboard in 'Music to Walk Home By' and futuristic effects in a bubbly energetic 'Why Won't They Talk To Me' - which seems to be the 'Solitude is Bliss' of the second album. In any one track you can find slow acoustic moments, pulsating bass, retro harmonies and heavy electric guitar - each song exploring differing dynamics. It can feel like you're stuck in a time warp but then again Lonerism is so utterly contemporary and different to anything coming out of Australia right now. One for the masses? Highly doubt it. One to purchase for vinyl lovers, dance fans and anything else in between? Sure thing.