Upon first hearing of this new band called Tame Impala a few years ago, I scoffed at the formulaic indie/alt rock name (ironic adjective + obscure animal… think about it). But soon after pressing play, I bit my tongue. As a follow-up to their impressive debut Innerspeaker, Lonerism is that sequel you have to check out because you loved the first one so much. The Australian psych-rock trio’s sophomore album is now streamable and soon downloadable.
Tame Impala carries over the — to borrow the band’s own invented word — “lonerism” attitude embedded in the lyrics of Innerspeaker (hear “Solitude is Bliss”), still transcending whatever negative connotation is associated with solitude. The overlapping synth and panting in the opener “Be Above It” diverges momentarily from the group’s expected thick guitar and loopy verses. Every piece that follows is on point, from the simple staccato piano in “Apocalypse Dream,” to the pulsating bass line of “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” to the chunky bar chords and heavy, wordless chorus in “Elephant”.
The raw guitar beneath trailing vocals from frontman Kevin Parker creates an unmistakable sound that is eerily like…dare I say…The Beatles. Tame Impala themselves admit their sound is one “equally informed by The Beatles as it is by beat poetry”. I hear, even more so in this second album, a sense of being lost in the music and the process of creating it. Like recording this album was some sort of ongoing collection of diary entries that both rebukes and lauds creative isolation.
Lonerism is out for the US of A on October 9th via Modular Recordings. Stream it in full on NPR here.