My Albums of 2012 – No. 7: Tame Impala ‘Lonerism’

Tame Impala

Psychedelia has been given a bad name over the last decade, much of it down to the cack-handed efforts of the Gallagher brothers to incorporate it into their records. The words ‘psych-rock’ are enough to make a lot of potential listeners recoil in anticipation of some dreadful 10 minute long ‘All Around The World’ pastiche, parading under the dreaded banner of ‘retro’.

The mastermind behind Tame Impala is Kevin Parker, whose interviews are so notoriously and loquaciously dumb that Alexis Petridis compared him to Nigel Tufnal of Spinal Tap. Petridis cited the classic Tap line, “it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever” and that line appeared to be the threshold to the studio. Parker may or may be an idiot (it’s more likely he’s just a massive stoner), but if he is, then he’s an idiot with a habit of making absurdly brilliant music.

Much of Lonerism recalls the wistful melodies of early Pink Floyd, before they became Earth’s Dullest Band, but its fidgety loops and electronics sounded utterly modern. The isolation and loneliness evident in Parker’s lyrics also underlined the modernity of this album; this was no mere exercise in retro. Underpinning all of this however, was an unerring sense of melody and brevity. These weren’t 15 minute noise experiments – the longest track was six minutes long and over a third of the songs clocked in at around the three minute mark.

‘Why Won’t They Talk To Me?’ is a nigh-on perfect exercise in marrying a beautiful melody to a despairing lyric: “Whoopsie-daisy, I thought I was happy.” ‘Be Above It’ married glorious melodic hooks to the frenetic paranoia of the whispers and drum loops. ‘Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control’ and ‘Keep On Lying’ were both swathed in electronic noise, with the vocal, guitar and synth melodies drifting back and forth towards the front of the mix.

‘Lonerism’ is a heady and brilliant album, which gets better with every listen and every new melody discovered. Now, just imagine if we could someone join Noel Gallagher’s always brilliant interviews with Kevin Parker’s music.

david brent

2 Responses to “My Albums of 2012 – No. 7: Tame Impala ‘Lonerism’”

  1. Ben Donovan Says:

    haha fair go Parker’s interviews aren’t notoriously dumb. The kid was probably just pulling Petridis leg in that interview and otherwise he’s been able to articulate the album’s vision/intent admirably. That aside, your spot on 😉

    • chetantos Says:

      Haha. Thanks dude. One listen to the album and you can tell he’s seriously bright, but not always easy to articulate that in your 18th interview of the day!

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