“Lonerism” is Polished, Psychedelic Rock

Nicky Hug

Tame Impala’s first musical release, their self-titled EP, came out in 2008. Four years later, the band, described as “psychedelic rock project” of the lead singer Kevin Parker, has stayed true to the promise it made with that EP. Music built around psychedelic jams and grooves exudes from each of the bands releases, beginning with the self-titled EP in 2008, continuing with the very experimental debut album Innerspeaker in 2010, and culminating in their newest, fantastic release Lonerism.

 

Lonerism musically continues with what the band self-describes as “a steady flowing psychedelic groove rock [sound] that emphasizes dream-like melody”. However, this time around, Parker places more of an emphasize song-writing. This results in songs that maintain the experimental and out-there feel of the first album and EP, but also contains what I would call “pop-potential”. Songs on Lonerism are more likely to stick with the listener; they have a bit more of catchy sound and lyrics. This poppy-ness was something Parker was directly aiming for; however, it doesn’t detract from the weirdness of the album. Instead, it adds a polished feel to an already great sound. In fact, listening to the instrumentals of the album, one could say it is still just as experimental. It is in the lyrics that the pop comes in. Parker sings over the instrumentals with catchy, melodic lyrics, creating hooks that stick with the listener.

 

For me, Lonerism has struck an intricate balance between catchiness and experimentation that seems to be something bands strive for these days. It compares greatly to Grizzly Bear’s Shields. However, while that album focused on distinct instrumentals, with build and tension, Lonerism aims to bombarded the listener with constant sound in the background, sound that is melodic enough to stick in the mind, but experimental enough to keep the listener guessing. On the surface it can be a great listening album, but upon further inspection proves to be ever-changing; with each listen it is possible to find something new.

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