So what if Tame Impala’s ridiculous style isn’t for everyone? What the Australian dream-pop band is doing in terms of production is really interesting, and in chart standards, the work has gone unnoticed. But this is only record No. 2 for the the fivesome from Down Under, and Lonerism is about to catch on with the right people. The rest really won’t matter.
Right off the bat, boy, this vintage sound is groovy. It takes listeners straight back to where some of the most influential sounds happened in history, the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, copying the effects and pasting them into a new generation of delinquents. Though sometimes near rip-off status, the throwback is a lot of fun to hear.
Lonerism isn’t about mastering that vibe of solitude contained in its subject. The album’s mission is less about being alone and enduring the woes of singledom (its ultimate concept) than it is about exasperating the awesome they’ve got going for them. There isn’t much variation from start to finish. The gnarly, heavy sonic effect is captured within the first three songs and the rest plays out a whole lot of buzzing, smoky tones. Stay for lead single “Apocalypse Dreams,” playful “Feels Like We’re Going Backwards” and dirty “Elephant” if nothing else does it for you.
This set of songs contains the mellowest hard rock you’ll ever hear and the most in-your-face chill music ever made. The tempo stays the same but remains lively all throughout. The words meld together in ambiguity as the nearly inaudible lyrics sing of things like love lost, self-fulfillment and hallucinagenic drugs. A lot of ground gets covered on Lonerism – enough to fill your head with some fuzz for a little while — but the album remains moderate in terms of ambitiousness.
There’s that repetitive, manic-like pulsating breath of noise periodically through the album, persistent in keeping the listener alert yet soft enough to allow some to tune out if they wish. It’s all in our head, which is what makes Lonerism so bittersweet. The album is lighthearted and heavy in the ears, dense in content but full in artistry. The record isn’t all steadily good but never hits a bad point.
So much of Lonerism is loud at any volume. Those distorted guitars and vocals are noisy and dominating, proving any point Tame Impala attempts to make simply by screaming it out loud. The band truly had fun in the making of their sophomore effort. In “Elephant,” singer Kevin Parker professes: “I bet he feels like an elephant /shaking his big grey trunk for the hell of it /you know, that you’re dreaming of about being him /too bad your chances are slim”
So there you have it, a whole pile of “WTF?” to deconstruct. There’s no doubt Lonerism’s hits are going to be absolutely wild in a live setting, so Tame Impala definitely has a fun year ahead of them, just as this album has been one heck of a ride for listeners to dive into.