Even from the inevitable decline of psychedelic rock in the late 1960’s and the legendary albums released by bands such as Pink Floyd, the Kinks, and of course, the Beatles, it still seems that the genre has always had an incredibly comfortable spot in the world of music. It has come back and grown considerably throughout the years, with newer and fresher techniques. Australian band Tame Impala and their signature psychedelic vibes to frontman Kevin Parker’s hazy croon is evidence enough that what they’re doing is highly remarkable, and definitely comparable to a time long past.
Tame Impala’s debut album Innerspeaker was released in 2010, and immediately audiences and critics were acknowledging how much this really sounded like something out of a late-60’s time capsule. From the airtight, pressurized track “It’s Not Meant To Be” and on, it’s obvious that the band was going for just that, and makes it crystal clear with Hendrix-style guitar riffs and whimsical, hazy feedback. “Alter Ego” is deep, introspective, and the narrative Parker provides with his passionate voice is enough to make it one of the absolute best tracks on the album. Critics have mentioned the resemblance of Parker’s voice to the legendary John Lennon, and it does; however he does know how to use it to his advantage. Some of the tracks, however, don’t seem to have a set direction, seeing as though some pass the six-minute mark, which does slightly take away from their intentions, but it also shows the intense dedication. Then came Lonerism, which, in it’s delicate construction and focused mindset, made it highly superior to their debut. Instead of focusing so hard to be an album that seemed like it belonged with the rebellious, unrelenting outbursts of their ancestors, they instead revived that mindset into something a little more advanced. “Endors Toi” plays around more with synth and electronic elements, which at first listen seems odd, but then as each second passes, its no longer such an oddity. It’s as if this sort of evolution was meant to happen, and the beats and atmospheric elements present in the song make it highly addictive. “Mind Mischief” showcases more of those addictive, memorable melodies that Parker writes so well, and the hazy, loose construction only makes the song better. “Why Won’t They Talk To Me” is strangely supersonic, a space oddity that transforms into a heartfelt ballad that pulls and tugs at heartstrings and encapsulates feelings of inferiority and isolation. It’s the perfect introduction to their single “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” which is honestly one of the best off of the album due to it’s simplicity. The complexity lies comfortably in the spirit and instrumentals, making it accessible to any audience, which is something that I suppose is important in a genre so fine tuned to a certain demographic. “Elephant” dances the same dance as the tracks before, providing a memorable, thick, protruding bass line that would again make the band more popular for the masses. Album closer “Sun’s Coming Up” reminded me more of The Beatles than any other song that Tame Impala has ever done, and instead of treating it with disdain, I thought it was a pretty clever, albeit bold move on their part. Ending with such an acoustic, intimate song proves the band’s ability to be close with their audiences, pulling them back to reality after the forty-minutes of hazy lucidity.
Even though it’s incredibly clear what Tame Impala’s inspirations stem from, the music they create as a result of that obsession never seems forced. As a band, they’ve figured out that it’s not so much the sound that needs to be imitated, but the deep spirit that runs rampant in the melodies, which is clearly heard in any of their recognizable songs.