Tame Impala’s 2010 debut album Innerspeaker so special was its high regard for ‘60s psychedelia, lush guitar licks, and lead singer Kevin Parker’s keen ear for a melody. Fortunately, these traits remain very much at the fore in this effort from the Perth psych rockers.
Be Above It kicks off the album in a slightly off kilter fashion, with Parker’s whispered, “gotta be above it/gotta be above it”, contrasting heavily with the expansive main vocal. Meanwhile, Endors Toi winds along on a Lennonesque melody accompanied by a rich mixture of synth and guitar swirl.
“Music to Walk Home By” is easily the popiest moment on the album with its infectious “but it’s only when I’m thinking” refrain lodging itself firmly in your brain whilst a gorgeous and unexpected Moog synthesizer line briefly adds an unexpected prog-rock timbre to the mix.
However, for all it’s beautiful melodies there is a dark heart to the album. Song titles alone such as Why Won’t They Talk To Me, Keep on Lying and Feels Like We Only Go Backwards hint at a deep seated sense of isolation and loneliness. Although on the surface the music is light and joyous, lyrics such as “they wouldn’t care too much if I disappear “show that there is anxiety behind the pristine production. Fortunately Parker doesn’t seem to wallow in his misery, in particular Elephant is a great glam stomp, somewhere between Kasabian’s Shoot The Runner and The Black keys Gold on the Ceiling and “Music To Walk Home By” is… well, breezy music to walk home by.
These tracks bring a bit of welcome relief to the sometimes overwhelming and repetitive nature of several of the longer numbers such as Apocalypse Dreams and Nothing That Has Happened so Far Has Been Anything We Could Control. Still, the album is immensely enjoyable in its extravagance and exotic richly-layered production. On the strength of this album, I think we would care if Kevin Parker did disappear.