Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
This album is not at all what I expected it to be. After Currents saw a shift in Tame Impala’s sound, with a greater emphasis on synths, electronics and R&B grooves, Kevin Parker suddenly became the talk of the town. Half the music industry wanted to collab with him and pick his brain, and Tame Impala went from just being a favourite amongst Indie nerds to headlining major festivals, dominating the scene, and soundtracking people losing their inhibitions on dancefloors the world over.
I had expected The Slow Rush to build on those foundations, to push further towards the centre and embrace an even more accessible sound. Turns out that is not the case, there’s not a single moment on this record that could be called a hit at the same level as ‘Let It Happen’ or ‘The Less I Know The Better’. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its moments; the album version of ‘Borderline’ absolutely smokes the single version, ‘Is It True’ and ‘Lost In Yesterday’ have some wonderfully groovy bass lines, and I simply love the piano on ‘Breathe Deeper’ and the song’s trippy coda. Even these highlights however don’t exactly jump out at you and scream “hit”, nor do they seem to make much of a lasting impression in quite the same way.
Okay, so The Slow Rush isn’t an album of hooks, so surely that means Kevin falls back to familiar ground to make something quirky and experimental instead, right? Well… yes and no. It’s true that compared to most bands it’s still about as lush, vibrant and expansive as music comes, but compared to the rest of Tame Impala’s discography it sounds like a record of filler tracks. It’s an album content to remain in the comfort zone. The laid-back psychedelic soundscapes can pass by for minutes on end with little variation and the tracks tend to just blend into one another with little to differentiate them.
The musicianship is superb and the production is immaculate, it’s one of the best produced records you could ever hope to hear, but even so it seems to fade into the background. The Slow Rush is like a great painter turning their talents to painting a run-down council estate or a dull and dreary office block; the talent is still there, they are still a master of their craft, but even so the final product just fails to capture your imagination.