by Jared Moser
Talk about a slow rush! After five years since 2015’s Currents, Tame Impala finally gives us The Slow Rush, adding a fourth album to their rock-solid discography. Formed in 2007, Tame Impala is the Australian psychedelic rock project of Kevin Parker. With earlier albums Innerspeaker (2010), and Lonerism (2012) having heavy psychedelic rock and indie rock influences, Currents (2015) gave fans something different. Having a more synth-pop sound, Currents is an amazing album that seemed impossible to top. After dropping four promising singles, and a long five year wait, Tame Impala gave us The Slow Rush on February 14th, a 12 song LP centering on the concept of time. Kevin Parker opens up about personal struggles, making this sound almost like a sister album to Currents, so if you liked that one, you’re going to love this.
The record kicks off with the long, dreamy single, “One More Year.” Kevin Parker brings up issues with the passage of time early, singing about being in your comfort zone, and the paradox of wanting change, but also the challenges that face it. By the end of the song, he decides to give it one more year. Its overall sound is my least favorite on the album, although that’s not to say it’s a bad song. The rest of the album is so great that this song is just good. It starts slow and watery and basically stays that way until it meets its five-and-a-half minute run time. The length isn’t the problem for me because I love long songs. But nothing about it changes; no mood swings or drastic points at all.
“Posthumous Forgiveness” is a six-minute ride of emotions where Parker sings about his deceased father. The first four minutes are a synth heavy, energy packed, drum punching breakdown that gives off a confused-anger like energy. Parker deals with the frustration he has toward the passing of his father, who played a huge part in his life, thus the first half of the title “Posthumous.” The remaining two minutes tone it down, with smooth guitar, more psychedelic synths, catchy drums, and stunning vocals. He follows the frustration over his father’s passing with the disappointment of him never seeing Parker grow up and become the musician he wanted him to be. The end comes to the peaceful conclusion that nothing will change the fact that his father is no longer with him, thus the second half of the title, “Forgiveness.”
“On Track” has some of the best writing Tame Impala has had in a song. The story telling creates a scene you can feel, especially when the drums come thundering into the track on top of the mellow keyboard. Parker brings up how even though he feels like life is falling apart, he keeps telling himself, “Strictly speaking I’m still on track.”
“One More Hour” caps off the record with probably the best, wildest drums Tame Impala has put out, topped by catchy 80s style synths. The song states that that year is up, and now let’s just enjoy this last hour, bringing the idea of the passage of time full circle.
Start to finish, the album is fantastic, with each song carrying something different. Parker’s ability to avoid the redundancy, but at the same time keep an overall consistent sound, is impressive. The only drawbacks this record has is the habit of dragging out songs longer than needed, and vocals getting lost under the music, even though that’s Tame Impala’s signature style. Overall, The Slow Rush was a fantastic album on all fronts, but it doesn’t surpass Currents. I give the album an 8/10, though I feel like my rating can only go up as time goes on, which seems fitting.