Kevin Parker is a musical genius. Ever since the release of the 2010 masterpiece InnerSpeaker, Tame Impala have established themselves as one of the best bands in the world. In 2012, Tame Impala released their second studio album, Lonerism in 2012. To me it was a massive step up, as Kevin started utilizing more atmospheric synth sounds to create moody, soulful soundscapes. He amplified this in 2015’s Currents, my least favourite album of his. It was a valiant attempt to create a brand new sound, with more emphasis on disco and electronic music. Five whole years later Kevin returns with his fourth studio album as Tame Impala titled The Slow Rush, a dense yet fluid and rich album, combining the raw experimentation and psychedelia of their first two albums with a polished electronic sound that captures a harmonious balance between the two soundscapes.
The album starts off with “One More Year,” with modified psychedelic vocals and a thumping beat that is interlocked with a groovy bassline and infectious synth leads. Talk about setting the tone of the album, damn! The euphoria from that track is translated brilliantly throughout the 12 track album. The guitar-driven tone of “Instant Destiny” is infectious, while the catchy melody on “Borderline” is absolutely fantastic. The album flows perfectly from track to track, as the instrumental intricacies and density often feeling overpowering and overwhelming. “Posthumous Forgiveness” starts off with with a slow, smooth rhythm, a subtle guitar lead and a driving beat. It breaks down and meanders through different tempos and soundscapes. “Breathe Deeper” is a groovy, infectious and hypnotizing disco-inspired track. The drums, Kevin’s vocals and the synths throughout this extended cut make it one of the real highlights on the album. “Tomorrow’s Dust” features gorgeous guitar arpeggios that remind me somewhat of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” and “On Track” is a smooth track with dominant, drum-led moments that add to the grandiosity of the sound of the album. The lead single “Lost in Yesterday” is another catchy moment within the album, while the heavy, Daft Punk inspired “Is It True” is another disco-inspired track that captures Kevin Parker’s appreciation for the legendary French electronic duo. “It Might Be Time” might be the most psychedelic, guitar-driven track on the album, as siren-like synths ring through the backdrop of a menacing, highly engaging and bass-driven melody. “Glimmer” is a short, electronic interlude that paves way for the album closer “One More Hour” a piano and guitar driven track that sounds oddly minimal at times considering the grandiosity and density of their music. The track does build to this psychedelic, guitar driven ball of funky bliss, but it’s the moody and reflective tone of the latter half of the track that makes this a beautiful and fitting end to this album.
On The Slow Dive, Kevin Parker continues to establish himself as one of the most forward-thinking and talented artists in the world. Combining a raw, guitar-heavy sound with a modern, slick and electronic soundscape, with Tame Impala he is able to create an album that sounds smooth, psychedelic, groovy, funky, moody, ethereal and utterly stunning. The Slow Dive is an amalgamation of all the best and most memorable sounds from all their previous releases, released in a cohesive and highly enjoyable album. A definite listen and one of the better albums to come out in recent years.