'The Slow Rush' Review: Tame Impala returns with a dense, groovy, mind and time-bending album
The band's fourth album is a majestic, well-paced, 12-track homage to the impenetrable twin mysteries of time and memory
The Australian psychedelic dream pop outfit Tame Impala is back with their fourth studio album — 'The Slow Rush' — their first offering in five years, and it's definitely been worth the long wait.
Seemingly conscious of the time and effort that this record has taken to gestate, it's only fitting that the indie music genius known as Kevin Parker and his merry band of groovers have offered up a delectable aural masterpiece this time around.
'The Slow Rush' is a majestic, well-paced, 12-track homage to the impenetrable twin mysteries of time and memory — it resembles the dreamy soundscape to a glorious, revelatory, Rip Van Winkle-esque slumber.
From a gradual, slow-building evolution revealing itself over the course of eons to witnessing a prescient flash of the future in an instant, Parker dredges memories, both real and imagined, to grasp at the intangible feelings at the very core of our human psyche.
Seismic life changes and moving, pivotal moments at the crossroads help set the scene for 'The Slow Rush' to comfortably play out, in its own time, in its own ineffable way.
Right from the get-go, we are introduced to Tame Impala's unmistakable dreamy sound, but this time their synth-heavy sound has been reinvigorated with pulsing, morphing, groovy electronic patterns and time-bending, genre-skipping retro funk.
There are acoustic guitars, pan flutes, timpani, disco rhythms and classic acid house — the album is an organic microcosm of all the vintage, trippy sounds that have come and gone in the not-too-distant past while offering us something authentic and new in the process.
The album's opening track, 'One More Year', sets the tone for the swirling currents to follow, starting us off with exquisite delay and tremolo-drenched synths.
Kevin Parker talks about how innocent nostalgia can feel when looking back at our glory years, and how it doesn't really compare when measured up against our current state of affairs.
"Do you remember we were standing here a year ago? / Our minds were racing, time went slow. / If there was trouble in the world, we didn't know. / If we had a care, it didn't show."
The mood of the album, on the whole, is refreshingly optimistic despite its poignant moments — even though we are mortal beings on a finite timeline, that doesn't mean we have to be bound by our memories — we can just revel in the potential that the present moment offers instead.
As Parker croons on the gorgeous 'Lost In Yesterday', "If it calls you, embrace it / If it holds you, erase it." This idea is reinforced by the track 'Instant Destiny'. It's a boisterous, swinging celebration about obsessing less over the present and allowing the universe to unfold exactly the way that it should.
The other tracks on this album are similarly delightful — 'Posthumous Forgiveness' is a two-part exorcism of demons from the past, while 'Tomorrow’s Dust' is a breezy summer jam featuring acoustic guitar and congas.
The album's closer, 'One More Hour' (a progressive wink to the opening track's title) is a step towards a better tomorrow, eschewing introspection for reverentially observing the beauty in the stillness, as time flies and shadows shift before your eyes.
And out of the pounding thunderstorm, we find that a path to acceptance and unmistakable bliss has magically materialized.
In just under an hour, Kevin Parker has managed to conjure up the agony and ecstasy at the core of our (un)eventful existence, exploring its monumentality and mundanity via a dozen vividly evocative tracks.
Using his mastery of mixing and production, and decades of popular music styles filtered through a singular psychedelic lens, 'The Slow Rush' bristles with creativity and reverberates with sentiment confirming Tame Impala as one of the more artistically ambitious artistes of our generation.