Review | Tame Impala — The Slow Rush
Psych-pop's finest Tame Impala are back with their latest offering, The Slow Rush, but unfortunately, it doesn't stand out in comparison to their previous releases.
Tame Impala's trajectory has been an absolute joy to watch over the past decade. It wasn’t until Lonerism that the world really seemed to shut up and take notice of the instant classics Kevin Parker was churning out. Then came 2015’s Currents. Unanimously agreed by pretty much every list to be in the top ten albums of the 2010s, Currents hailed Kevin Parker as the frontrunner of a new kind of rock, one which makes full use of synths and production to create a sound which was simultaneously retro yet ultra-modern, trippy yet underpinned with the best riffs, psychedelic as hell, and yet could easily break into the mainstream.
The hype surrounding the next releases from the Australian mogul was real. But, with each tidbit released from the upcoming The Slow Rush, fans lost more and more faith that this was going to be a solid follow-up to one of the best albums of the current (get it?) musical landscape. None of the songs had anything that compared to the bassline featured on "The Less I Know The Better" (but equally, does any recent song?). I was excited to review this album, but also scared. Alas, I was proven right.
The Slow Rush is, unfortunately, a let-down, lacklustre release from the artist who helped define the music scene of the last decade.
The album kicks off with "One More Year" — which sets the tone — and that tone is, unfortunately, “meh”. There are the same psychedelic, trippy synth sounds but nothing really pinning it down as a solid tune to get stuck in your head. "Borderline" gets an update for the album release, and is probably one of the stronger songs in the album, but it still doesn’t come close to anything on Currents.
It’s not all bad. "Breathe Deeper" is an album highlight, where we get a riff that could challenge some of Impala's previous releases, elevating The Slow Rush into more interesting territory. It also has a fun little extra section at the end with some killer bass which will surely go off in any live set. The acoustic guitar part on "Tomorrow’s Dust" is also an extremely lovely addition, and it’s a nice enough song, although it continues to lack the appeal of previous releases.
The biggest let down on the album is "On Track", which sounds like Parker is trying to write a poor man’s version of "Eventually" (off Currents). It’s pretty bland and forgettable. "Lost in Yesterday" also holds promise, but falls short by the time it gets to the chorus, which sounds like Parker is following step-by-step instructions as to how to create one.
This was a harsh review. I know that. The album isn’t bad, it’s just meh. This review reflects the opinions of so many Tame Impala fans eager to see what would follow Parker’s previous, outstanding work. It just doesn’t live up to the hype, to the name that Kevin Parker has made for himself, to the previous efforts. We’re all holding him to such high standards because we know he’s capable of more. Maybe if the hype had been slightly less, Parker would have got away with a slightly more middle-of-the-road album like this one. But that’s just what you get for producing a modern classic like Currents.
Best Song: Breathe Deeper
Worst Song: On Track