Tame Impala – “The Slow Rush” Album Review
Kevin Parker, the sole member of Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala released his first album in five years, “The Slow Rush,” an album that proves Parker’s unparalleled ability as a songwriter, composer, and producer.
Over the course of five years, Tame Impala grew from a psychedelic rock cult favorite with a throwback sound on 2010’s “Innerspeaker,” into a top charting sensation that drew admiration from pop fans and critics alike with 2015’s psychedelic dance pop album “Currents.”
“Currents,” alongside being Parker’s commercial breakthrough, also served as a shift in style and music making mentality. Gone were the heavy guitars and nostalgic sounds with lyrical themes focused on introversion, and in were the pop style synths that created music for the masses, music for people to dance along to.
“The Slow Rush” is an expansion of the new sounds explored on “Currents,” and in many ways, Parker perfects this sound. There is a higher level of consistency on “The Slow Rush,” additionally, Parker takes more creative risks.
The opening track “One More Year,” is an example of this experimental, yet pop centric sound. As one can see from the title of the opening track, time is a major theme in this album. Parker has stated in interviews since the release of “The Slow Rush” that peoples obsession with not having enough time in life was a big influence, and the songwriting in “One More Year” exemplifies this theme.
As the album moves from track to track, the consistency of “The Slow Rush” becomes more apparent. The hallmark of this consistency is Parker’s songwriting. He always has something interesting and poignant to say.
Additionally, the instrumentals are diverse, unique, and catchy on pretty much every track. Parker keeps things tight yet leaves room for experimentation. Whether it be bright guitar triplets on “Tomorrow’s Dust,” or the catchy baseline on “Lost In Yesterday,” Parker’s knack for creating a pop song is ever present.
Alongside “Lost In Yesterday,” a great track about letting go of the past, “Posthumous Forgiveness” stands out as a high point of “The Slow Rush.”
The track, like many on the album, reaches the six-minute mark. “Posthumous Forgiveness” is a deeply personal two-part song about Parker’s now deceased father, who left the musician’s life at a young age.
The first part, carried by a menacing guitar hook and bashing drums, expresses Parker’s anger towards his father for leaving him. “You had a chance, but you decided to take all your sorrys to the grave,” Parker sings in part one.
Soon after, however an intense instrumental break, the track smooths out to a calm synth lead part two, where Parker is more understanding, empathetic, and forgiving of his father’s issues.
“Posthumous Forgiveness” is a beautiful track, one that is incredibly moving and technically proficient, and is an absolute masterclass in production and songwriting.
The high points do not stop there. “Borderline,” the first single released for the album, got a facelift for “The Slow Rush.” The track is brighter and catchier, with the keyboard notes hitting harder and the strings sharper than they were on the single version.
“Breathe Deeper,” is another track that is a bit of a throwback, it showcases Parker’s high pitched and dream like voice with bright staccato piano notes on top of soft keyboards in the background. It is upbeat, happy, and the synth crescendo following a dip near the end of the track is one of the best moments of the album.
“The Slow Rush,” however, is not an album without flaws. Though these flaws are not too prominent. The almost one hour run time makes the back album seem a bit stale. The execution on tracks such as “Is It True” and “Glimmer” are good, but the creativity lags behind compared to other tracks.
Additionally, there are not as many moments of pure brilliance on “The Slow Rush,” compared to past albums.
The hypnotic bliss created by “Let It Happen” on “Currents” or the groundbreaking intensity of “Endors Toi” or “Elephant” from 2012 album “Lonerism” are sounds not matched by even the best of tracks on “The Slow Rush.”
For everything that “The Slow Rush” is, it is not Tame Impala’s best album, and it is not a project that will be breaking any new grounds. Despite this it is still a great album, albeit not revolutionary.
It is difficult to suggest what Tame Impala should do in the future. Kevin Parker has already cemented himself as one of music’s greatest minds, while “The Slow Rush” was not his best work, it is far from a bad or even an average album, and the next step Tame Impala make will certainly be an exciting one.
Reviewer’s Favorite Track: “Posthumous Forgiveness,” “Breathe Deeper”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Track: “Glimmer”
Jim Krueger is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.