ANDY: TAME IMPALA REVIEWED
After a few singles and an EP creeping out back in 2008 and 2009, Tame Impala burst on to the dreamy psychedelic scene in 2010 with their debut album ‘Innerspeaker’. I was hooked. I mean, I don’t think I have ever listened to a record quite so much in two years, without getting bored, than ‘Innerspeaker’. They sound like The Beatles, in the good years on LSD, but born with Australian sun shining on their cheeks and where everything is hazy and warm forever.
The four-piece are actually from Perth on the West Coast of Australia, which explains a lot to me in my mind. It is the project of Kevin Parker, writing, singer and producer who has certainly created his own, distinctive style of sound. A hazy, reverbed, guitar heavy but melody focused pattern of song writing, in such a way that you can whistle along to all of their indi-psychedelic hits. And Parker’s voice is so distinctive and familiar that he can’t help being compared to John Lenon. He really does sound like the iconic Beatle, and Tame Impala do sound like a twenty-first century Beatles.
They released their sophomore LP ‘Lonerism’ in early October and that’s where, if you hadn’t heard of them before, you certainly will have now. The album cover was everywhere! On buses, tubes, magazines… They were featured in all the broadsheets and the played Later… With Jools Holland a couple of weeks back. So in late 2012, I was stoked to head down to Brixton Academy to catch them live on their European tour. I had never seen them live before. Coming from Australia, they haven’t spent much time in England. I guess it’s a pretty long way for them. And what made this show even more special for me, and all the other Impala fans that packed out the venue, was that their new album was maybe even better than their first. Strong words, I understand that, yet the “difficult second album” was effortless for Parker. Or so it seemed. What made ‘Innerspeaker’ so incredible was that any of those tracks could have been a single, it’s an album of singles, and they managed to do the same with ‘Lonerism’. Every song I have fallen in love with, instantly.
They came out to rapturous applause and straight into ‘Be Above It’, the first from ‘Lonerism’, which merged into ‘Solitude is Bliss’, their hit single from ‘Innerspeaker’. It was an indicator to the crowd that, although they were here to play to us their new record, they were still going to pander to our needs with hits from their back catalogue. And we we’re not to be disappointed. They played for longer than an hour and half, with predominately new tracks, perfectly seasoned with others like ‘Lucidity’ and ‘It’s Not Meant To Be’. Their visuals were really trippy, with circles radiating out from a central dot on a large black canvas. It took me a couple of songs to realised that it was hooked up to Parker’s guitar, so when he wasn’t playing it looked a bit boring. At one point they paused, drowned in applause, and Parker uttered modestly “I think it’s safe to safe, we never dreamt of playing anywhere like this”. They then broke into ‘Elephant’, the first single from ‘Lonerism’, and the place erupted with the rhythmic thud of his guitar.
‘Lonerism’ is out now on Modular Records. http://www.modularpeople.com/releases/tame-impala-lonerism/3358.html