The New Tame Impala Offers the Most Joyful, Love-Drenched Music of Kevin Parker’s Career

The New Tame Impala Offers the Most Joyful, Love-Drenched Music of Kevin Parker’s Career

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I disliked the preening psychedelica of Tame Impala’s first two releases, Innerspeaker and Lonerism, so much that I didn’t even hear 2015’s Currents, where Kevin Parker began his morph into the trippiest indie pop this side of magic mushrooms. Five years on, with the new Tame Impala album The Slow Rush, he’s not only still tripping, he’s crafting the most joyful, life-affirming, love-drenched music of his career.

Cover of the new Tame Impala album, The Slow Rush

With the exception of the sniping “It Might Be Time” (which opens like a Supertramp outtake), The Slow Rush is the sound of a man deeply in love and seeing everything through its prism.

Parker’s never been afraid of effects — phases, reverb, distortion — yet the way he uses them in the service of elation is imaginative: fragmenting effects in an echo chamber of ardor (“One More Year”); dousing the spacious funk of “Breathe Deeper” in punctuated house piano; echoing the forward motion of Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” in the nostalgic “Lost in Yesterday”.

Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, July 2019 (Scott Legato / Getty Images)

New Tame Impala album The Slow Rush is such a great record — one of the few these days that are meant to be experienced in sequence — that I doubted my dislike of their earlier work.

I can hear why people admire them; they still don’t speak to me.

Currents will go back into rotation and get a fair hearing. And The Slow Rush will join the ranks of forebears such as Roxy Music’s Avalon or Björk’s Vespertine: romantic explorations of the trippiest fucking music of them all, the music of a heart in flight.

The new Tame Impala album, The Slow Rush, is out today.

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