Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker is a perfectionist and he has slowly turned his musical vehicle away from the psych rock driven debut Innnerspeaker from ten years ago into the extra smooth snyth grooves that flow throughout his newest long player The Slow Rush. This move to supplying more beats started five years ago on Currents (2015) but has now completely taken over on the 2020 version of Tame Impala.
With such a large time span between records and Parker’s linkage to multiple pop artists during that time, The Slow Rush could have went in a much different direction. Instead of busting out with a pop radio glimmer, Tame Impala actually pulls inward and sees the slick production, foot tapping beats and psychedelic grooves drive the vocals underground. Parker’s voice is still very important but The Slow Rush is all about letting the synths take you places we have not visited before. Not all great places either as Tame Impala works through the heartaches of love, the passing of Parker’s father, and questions about his existence. The structures may be fast at times and crawling at others but this almost hour long album is a headphone ready event that makes it easy to become immersed.
The Slow Rush taps into classic rock sound undertones on many occasions. The songs have a familiar play to them as you might go back into your 70’s collection of music and try to pinpoint a riff, a combination or a disco beat but all you are really hearing is Parkers’ knowledge for what has come before him and he also knows how to harness that power into something fresh. The way The Slow Rush moves stereo channels and blends the flawless vocals on a song like “On Track” is brilliant. This meticulous detail exists on each track.
The direction of The Slow Rush might be the final straw for the early fans of the group that are still longing for another rocking track like “Elephant” from Lonerism (2012) because you won’t find anything like it here. What you will find is an album that takes multiple spins to absorb. What I found is that after hearing The Slow Rush multiple times, I ended up with new favorite tracks, components I never heard before and also humming songs when the music had long shut off. The modern day Tame Impala seems here to stay I can fully admit that I am all in!
-Reviewed by Thomas Wilde