Tame Impala – Lonerism


Artist

Album

Lonerism

Label

Modular Recordings

Year

2012

For Fans Of

The Beatles - The Beach Boys - Melody's Echo Chamber

Summary

An impressive second album.

Rating

82 / 100

One thing that is clear after listening to ‘Lonerism‘ is that success has clearly not gone to Kevin Parker‘s head. This is a worthy follow-up to 2010’s ‘Innerspeaker‘, with the lo-fi production style that makes this band so appealing not only intact, but thriving.

This is impressive given that once again Parker performed almost every part himself. His vision is clear, and his ability to conjure such an enthralling sound without the luxury of expensive studio gear is remarkable.

What makes this album particularly charming, however, is the balance between straightforward, honest pop songs and the more self-indulgent, psychedelic jams. One such jam, ‘Be Above It‘, opens proceedings with heavily affected drums and reverb-drenched vocals. This leads into ‘Endors Toi‘, a song with simple rhythms, infectious melodies, and those familiar yet satisfying psychedelic swooshing sounds.

Parker‘s vocal style is almost a direct copy of John Lennon, which some would bemoan, but it suits Tame Impala‘s sound perfectly. ‘Mind Mischief‘ sounds like The Beatles and The Beach Boys collaborating during their later psychedelic periods, with a fuzz guitar tone that would make many a surf rock band jealous.

Vocals are often hidden amongst layers of swirling instruments, particularly in ‘Music to Walk Home By‘, but the melodies are strong enough that they would work in a more upfront position. Luckily, they’re given a chance to shine in ‘Why Won’t They Talk to Me?‘ alongside playful synths and a strangely invigorating post-punk beat.

Lyrically this album is decidedly minimal, often reduced to repeated existential ponderings sung mantra-like and weaving in and around swirling soundscapes. The most obviously structured song is lead single ‘Elephant‘, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. If the rest of the album is summer, this one track is winter.

It seems strange to describe a lo-fi production as immaculate, but Parker really has nailed the sound. Drums are consistently raw, guitars are dirty, every part is loose, but they somehow coalesce into a joyous cacophony. To top it off, every track is sweetened by analog synths that expand the sound palette into a multicoloured dream world.

Conclusion

‘Lonerism’ is complete in every way. Dreamy pop songs sit comfortably alongside meditative jams, and every track is tied together by a common sonic vocabulary. The psychedelic, lo-fi aesthetic Tame Impala are known for absorbs the listener, taking them on a journey that will entrance and enchant.

Tracklisting

1. Be Above It
2. Endors Toi
3. Apocalypse Dreams
4. Mind Mischief
5. Music to Walk Home By
6. Why Won’t They Talk to Me?
7. Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
8. Keep on Lying
9. Elephant
10. She Just Won’t Believe Me
11. Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control
12. Sun’s Coming Up

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