tame impalainnerspeaker
  • WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16, 2010

  • Posted by:

At the risk of rehashing what you probably already know about them, Tame Impala, the latest in a series of Australian classic/psychedelic rock exports, are heavily influenced by what came before them. Late 60s psychedelia, some prog here and thereyou get the gist. But, as it always is with these kinds of bands, Tame Impala are great for their ability to inject some new life into an old form which they do impeccably on Innerspeaker.

Which isn't to say that they're firmly rooted in the past. Newer strains of pop and prog rear their heads &mdash "Alter Ego", for example, sounds like Pink Floyd's take on Broken Social Scene until the foreboding vocals drift into the mix. Lead vocalist Kevin Parker sings in an appropriately dreamlike, chillwave-certified register on all the songs here, letting his voice linger on the last word or syllable of each line as the effects-laden guitars buzz and bend around him.

Lyrically, the band is almost always spot-on. Opener It Is Not Meant To Be lays bare the main thematic conflict in the album: Parker apparently spends too much time smoking weed and chilling at the beach to have any kind of serious romantic relationship and is so wrapped up in his own mind that he feels alienated from everyone else. Fortunately, even when he's at wits' end, his lyrics are simple, evocative, and often undercut with a surprising level of maturity: Don't remind me of home/There's everywhere I'd rather go/It's true that some things have to change, he sings on Runway, Houses, City, Clouds.

It's a great album, but it has some flaws: it can feel overlong at times when the band settles into extended jam sessions and they often seem a little too locked into their sound which causes some drag as the album reaches the homestretch. They don't seem particularly adventurous so I have some doubt about whether they'll be able to deliver as strongly on their sophomore album. For now, however, Tame Impala are fully in command of their aesthetic and Innerspeaker is a rock solid first outing. -ben krusling

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MP3: "Alter Ego" (Innerspeaker)
Tame Impala on Myspace

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