Tame Impala | Lonerism
One of 2012’s most heavily anticipated albums, critics have been waiting for Tame Impala’s Lonerism since it was announced back in late 2011. Frontman Kevin Parker has once more written and recorded the bulk of the album on his own in Australia, before adding the finishing touches with producer Dave Fridmann (MGMT, The Cribs). What has resulted from his efforts is not only one of the best psychedelic rock albums in years, but one of the best records of 2012.
Grabbing the listener by the scruff of the neck right from the start, ‘Be Above It’ transforms into a terrific Pink Floyd-esque, mechanical drone on the minute mark, and with its mix of the retro and the futuristically experimental, brings something to music that one just does not hear anymore. This unique sound is one of the things that Tame Impala do so well, with it being safe to say that few other bands today sound all that much like them. A little further on in the album, ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ and ‘Mind Mischief’ again allow Parker’s songwriting abilities to really shine through. While the rampant comparisons to Lennon are perhaps a bit premature, one can definitely detect the resemblance, and it’s not too much of a stretch to think that Parker could get there down the road.
‘Why Won’t They Talk To Me’ is another high point (on an album full of them), with cool synth effects combining with clever wordplay to showcase Parker’s pop-ier side, underlining the breadth of Tame Impala’s talents. To keep the momentum building, it’s direct neighbour, ‘Feels Like We Can Only Go Backwards’ is quite possibly one of the best songs of the year. It has everything, from the perfect blend of lead and back-up vocals, to the sublime instrumentals hanging around just far enough in the background. The whole track is a true testament to the production capabilities of Parker and Fridmann, who time and time again delicately manage to create order out of chaos.
Despite containing several gems, in listening to only a few of the songs on the album, one would be missing out; this is one case where the whole is clearly greater than the sum of its parts. The album flows together seamlessly, with each song picking up on, and adding to, subtle parts of previous tracks.
While some may argue that the album is overproduced – that Tame Impala has tried to do too much in adding so many layers to each of their songs – they miss the key point, namely that these multiple layers sound great together. The whole album represents a tremendous leap forward for a band already flirting with excellence. In fact, with Lonerism sounding so great, it would be quite surprising for this album to not make it onto many critics’ “Best of” lists.