Tame Impala – ‘The Slow Rush’ – Album Review

I take a look at the first album in five years from the mind of Kevin Parker.

It’s safe to say I love Tame Impala. Currents, the iconic album from 2015, is unquestionably one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard. Naturally, I was very excited when new music began to emerge at the start of last year, and now The Slow Rush is finally here. It’s time to listen to what Kevin Parker has to offer us in 2020.

1. One More Year

This is a well-chosen introductory track, setting up the theme of time that the album seeks to explore. The robotic voice repeating ‘One More Year’ is really atmospheric. For me, the song isn’t especially memorable, but there’s certainly lots of cool stuff going on here. The more I listen to this, the more I like it.

2. Instant Destiny

Sadly, this one felt a little forgettable. There are some moments I really like, but the song just doesn’t go where I hope it will. It’s growing on me, but it’s not a standout track.

3. Borderline

Don’t listen to this version of ‘Borderline’ if you haven’t heard the original single – it’s much better. Kevin Parker said he revised the song because listeners couldn’t hear the bass line the first time around, but I think the first version is perfect. It’s become of my favourite Tame Impala songs, mainly because of the fantastic chorus (‘Will I be known and loved?/Is there one that I trust?’) ‘Borderline’ didn’t need to be tampered with, so I’ll be sticking with the original version.

4. Posthumous Forgiveness

This song features super cool guitar and a really catchy beat. I like how much it changes as it progresses – we get a long instrumental section around the halfway mark, and then a change in pace a minute later. Even though it’s not one of my favourites from the album, you can tell a lot of work and emotion has gone into it.

5. Breathe Deeper

What a brilliant track! It’s superbly groovy, particularly when the keyboard comes in. I was worried it might run out of steam after six minutes, but the song just doesn’t get boring. Definitely a highlight of this album.

6. Tomorrow’s Dust

This song gets off to quite a slow start and made me imagine late-night drives through remote locations. It’s all about reaching acceptance when faced with the inevitable passage of time. The repetition of ‘no use trying’ gives off a mournful vibe, but ‘Tomorrow’s Dust’ is really quite beautiful. I think I’ll need to listen to it several times to appreciate all the things that are going on here.

7. On Track

Another very cool song. It starts off with slow chords and powerful lyrics, then brilliantly brings in the beat. The song’s theme – staying optimistic despite impossible odds – is very much the mindset I need to be in when I’m writing my university essays.

8. Lost In Yesterday

I listened to this one a lot when it was first released as a single, and it hasn’t got boring yet. It’s catchy and the lyrics are clever and interesting – I particularly like ‘And you’re gonna have to let it go someday/ You’ve been diggin’ it up like Groundhog Day’. Just a really cool track.

9. Is It True

I feel like this song has the potential to become a Tame Impala classic. I’ve used the word ‘groovy’ many times throughout this review, but there’s no better way to describe ‘Is It True’. It has great pace and effortless energy, and a chorus that’s guaranteed to get stuck in your head. I’m wary of comparing everything new that Parker does to Currents, but I did get the same vibes from that classic album with this song. My favourite newcomer, without a doubt.

10. It Might Be Time

Speaking of favourites, here comes my best-loved song of the album. I’m absolutely obsessed with it – I love the dramatic pauses, the sirens and (of course) Kevin Parker’s perfect vocals. There’s nothing more to say about it: this track is simply a masterpiece.

11. Glimmer

After a lot of long, intense tracks, we get a really funky instrumental song. I know its short length is deliberate – the song is supposed to be the fleeting ‘glimmer of hope’ that the singer is looking for – but I do still wish it was longer. Still, I guess it achieves what it sets out to do.

12. One More Hour

We kicked things off with ‘One More Year’ and, before we know it, all we have left is ‘One More Hour’. That’s a really cool way to approach an album, and I like how much care Kevin Parker has taken in his construction of The Slow Rush. At just over seven minutes, this last song is the longest on the album, but I think that works in its favour. I can hear elements of previous Tame Impala songs like ‘Endors Toi’ and ‘Elephant’ here, so it feels like a really appropriate way to end things.

Overall, this album explores a lot of interesting concepts and, for the most part, it does it in style. I’ll be seeing Tame Impala perform later this year, and I’ll be interested to hear how my new favourites from The Slow Rush compare to the classics when played live. Honestly, though, Kevin Parker can’t really do much wrong in my eyes.

Featured image Copyright NME.

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