It has been five years since the release of Tame Impala’s album, Currents and the highly anticipated The Slow Rush is nothing short of being worth the wait.
The band has been going strong for nearly 12 years, led and mastered by Kevin Parker with live instrumentation by the band Pond. Parker’s newest album exudes a bright and positive tone in contrast to past Tame Impala works like Lonerism and Innerspeaker, which would be classified as psychedelic rock. Currents, similarly, shares many of the psych-rock vibes of its preceding albums, but arches towards modern pop.
The Slow Rush bridges modern pop into soft disco, featuring an array of trance tunes resembling mini symphonies. Although it took longer than typical to create, the gap in between albums doesn’t impact the style that makes Tame Impala’s music so coveted.
It is exciting to see Parker’s genius evolve throughout his career. A now married man, The Slow Rush is a rumination of his taking a pause in life – settling in and appreciating the details with a sense of awe at the nature of things.
The Slow Rush took longer than expected and the title can even reflect the nature of Parker’s creative process – time sensitive to fans yet requiring considerable and careful attention in order to achieve the perfect 4th LP.
In 2018, Kevin Parker lost much of his gear at his Malibu loft in the Los Angeles fires. To hold people over, he shared a few tunes with the world: “Borderline,” “Posthumous Forgiveness,” “Lost in Yesterday,” and “It Might Be Time.” All have received praise, and deservingly.
The record opens with “One More Year” a song based on a seemingly endless loop of jam sessions which at one point was nearly 20 minutes in length, according to Parker. The hypnotic echoes add to the theme of time throughout the album, a concept often explored by Parker.
Continuing, “Borderline’s” mystical flute line makes it intoxicating to listen to in addition to it being a Tame Impala fan’s first glimpse into the The Slow Rush album many months ago. Diverse instrumentation isn’t unique to “Borderline,” as “Is it True” is the first of any Tame Impala songs to include the saxophone.
A fan favorite, “Posthumous Forgiveness” is reminiscent of older Tame Impala tunes; while, it is one of the rare songs along with “Tomorrow’s Dust” to use an acoustic guitar in the melody. The song is pure poetry as Parker uses the cathartic nature of music to vent his emotions towards his deceased father. Profound and beautiful, “Posthumous Forgiveness” speaks to forgiving those who can’t vindicate themselves.
On a lighter note, “Breathe Deeper” is a song that Parker says is inspired by the first time he took ecstasy and is influenced by the beats of Mariah Carey and Pharrell Williams. The groovy sound is one of the most uplifting songs on the album and its bassline is addicting to the ear.
A relatable and vulnerable song, “On Track ” explores the essential optimism in overcoming adversity, achieving goals, and staying on track. The Slow Rush, overall relates to Parker’s personal journey. “Instant Destiny” is another true-to-life tune which refers to his anticipated proposal to wife, Sophia. What The Show Rush ultimately delivers with tracks like these is what every music lover needs and wants – identifiable ness. Parker’s honesty and transparency throughout his music is what has and continues to gain fellowship with fans, something done exquisitely on The Slow Rush.
Along the same lines is the power of memories in all of our lives. The song “Lost in Yesterday” has a nostalgic feel to it, citing the influence of revisiting thought in later years: “if they call you, embrace them, if they hold you, erase them.” Furthermore, the track demonstrates Parker’s artistic attentiveness to differentiating styles of music, as he employs an EDM method of widening a mono track in a rock-pop tune.
Kevin Parker challenges on all levels with this record. He challenges himself to perfection and mastery and he challenges his listeners to think deeply.
One can say that it is hard to live up to the perfect albums of Tame Impala’s yesteryear; however, The Slow Rush successfully provides psych-rock enthusiasts more of what they love, while introducing an updated, fresh angle that is soothing to seasoned and new Tame Impala fans.