With it’s sputtering drums, distorted vibrations and the the first of many catchy hooks “Be Above It” rips the lid off Tame Impala’s (@tameimpala) sophomore album. The Australian psych rock outfit introduce Lonerism with this stinging punch and follow it with a flurry of fuzzy, free-spirited rock songs that will give you the most delirious and delicious head spin.
Back in 2010, Tame Impala made quite a name for themselves with their invigorating debut Innerspeaker. In addition to proving that they had keen ears and sharp skills, the album also hinted to their psychedelic prowess. Nothing on their previous record, though, could have alluded to the full scale of Lonerism’s sonic force. The band’s core fundamentals are as strong as an ox, and with meaty rhythm sections filling out the record, Lonerism’s heart is healthy and beating with authority. The album’s additional dressage and stylistic flair, however, is what makes it truly great. Hypnotic bass grooves that seem to take over your body, scruffy guitars that crackle with heat, other-worldly key patterns and, of course, Kevin Parkers sweet, swirling vocals are just a few examples of the cosmic, cool and delightfully experimental structure of Lonerism.
Sure, the album’s swirling synths, trippy fx and lush, lingering melodies are somewhat reminiscent of The Beatles and Todd Rundgren, but Tame Impala manage to pay homage to that particular sound without completely adopting it. There are enough original mechanisms and conscious composing throughout the album to prevent these ambitious Aussies from slipping into someones else’s skin — by no means an easy feat.
Proving that Lonerism isn’t simply all style and no substance, the album focuses on themes of isolation and introspection, probing both topics with refreshing honesty. As a songwriter, Parker seems to have strengthened his craft, and by collaborating with band member Jay Watson, he opened both his own and the band’s potential. The fragmented state of isolation and frantic demeanour of loneliness portrayed lyrically is also perfectly reflected through the music of Lonerism. Scorching breaks and sharp scattered progressions resonate wildly, while Parker’s use of home taped recordings and ambient sounds provide a wonderful contrast to the album’s more manic moments.
There’s a lot to take in while listening to this record, and though it may prove overbearing for some, others will revel in its richness and discover more upon repeat listens. Having already established themselves as a fresh and exciting act back in 2010, Tame Impala have managed to radically up their game with this second effort, making them even more relevant and essential. Lonerism is a huge leap forward and a romping stomping good time to boot. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is a contender for album of the year