Simultaneously retrospective and prospective (“Eventually terrible memories turn into great ones”), Tame Impala’s fourth album opens with One More Year and closes with One More Hour – the passage of time closing in.
When Tame Impala premiered lead single Borderline on SNL last March, we were instantly hooked. “We’re on the borderline/ Caught between the tides of pain and rapture” – those harmonies! Is Kevin Parker a long-lost Bee Gee? And do we detect synthesised shakuhachi (bamboo flute)? (One synthline calls to mind Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer intro.) This song’s melodic beauty is staggering (warning to listeners: tears of joy will flow).
Parker’s parents divorced when he was just four. His estranged father passed away in 2009 (before the release of Tame Impala’s debut album) and here Parker touchingly offers Posthumous Forgiveness: “I wanna say it’s alright/ You’re just a man after all.”
Internal discourse (“Starting to sober up/ Has it been long enough?… I’m a loser/ Loosen up”) diffuses The Slow Rush‘s entirety, steering crippling self-doubt (It Might Be Time) towards hesitant optimism (On Track). Elsewhere: Breathe Deeper diverts piano-house toward the rave cave; It Might Be Time‘s synth riff tips its hat to The Logical Song; and Glimmer – a banging, experimental snippet – evokes Underworld/Derrick May.
It’s impossible to focus on anything else – even Insta scrolling! – while digesting The Slow Rush: an elegant, inventive masterpiece that conjures up sonic stardust with added ripple-dissolve flashback effects. Parker is in a class of his own.
The Slow Rush by Tame Impala is out February 14 via Island Records.
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