After making fans wait nearly 5 years to hear what he would do after dropping Currents in 2015, the Australian psychedelic savant Tame Impala is back with his fourth studio album titled The Slow Rush. The album features Kevin Parker both playing with masterfully layered synth sounds and lyrically pondering themes of nostalgia, death, and optimism.
Despite only gaining mainstream recognition after the explosion of the song The Less I know the Better, Tame Impala has had a cult following and a strong reputation for consistently putting out some of the most progressive sounds and introspective lyrics of the past decade. Tame Impala’s past trinity of Innerspeaker, Lonerism and Currents is still considered the best of what the indie rock genre has to offer.
The Slow Rush feels quite different compared to Tame Impala’s last three. The album still sees Parker creating interesting sounds and singing profound lyrics, but notably missing is many of the rock-inspired, groovy guitar riffs that powered songs like Elephant and The Less I Know the Better. Instead, the album opts for an even more electronic music inspired approach. On the lyrical end, Parker’s writing is more optimistic than the sad and lonely themes that are featured in his previous work.
My favorite track and the crown jewel of the album has to be Posthumous Forgiveness. The track is split up into two movements. The first part is palpably heavy and Parker’s delivery fits the tone perfectly. The song flows effortlessly into the transition portion that features a loud and wailing synth that fits the emotion perfectly. The second half is lighter and more open which allows the track to finish with a sense of closure.
Lyrically, Parker gets personal as he tells the story of his ongoing acceptance of the memory of his father. The first part of the track seems to ask a question that the second part tries to answer. He describes the first time he listened to Abbey Road with his father and it took me back to the time my dad did the same.
I knew the song Borderline was going to be a favorite of mine as soon as the bright drum groove kicked in. The track is a masterpiece of layering and the flute melody that cuts through the lyrics and atmosphere is one of the most unique sounds that I’ve heard in a song. When the atmosphere gets stripped back a bit in the third verse, it feels like a breath of fresh air right before the thunderous final leg of the track.
The song On Track is all about the lyrics for me. Parker speaks about pushing forward and not getting caught up with past failures as he floats on over a glimmeringly optimistic harmony pushed forward by a dark 80s dance piano. The lyric “More than a minor setback/ But strictly speaking, I’m still on track” seems to be telling me to acknowledge previous events but to still remain optimistic despite the tragedy.
Overall, The Slow Rush is an aesthetically pleasing yet lyrically deep album that builds on the brilliance of Tame Impala’s discography. So sit back, kick off your shoes, put on this album and just vibe in your room. You might end up with an epiphany, but you definitely end up with some good time to yourself.
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