The last we heard of Tame Impala was 5 years ago with their album Currents, earning acclaim and awards in their native Australia for both the record and its lead single “Let It Happen.” After a number of festival appearances and guest features in the years since, Kevin Parker and his merry men have returned to the forefront with The Slow Rush, a highly anticipated release to say the least. The new album comes right off of the back of Tame being named “artist of the decade” in Vice; having effectively soundtracked the tone of the last 10 years, this record will be sure to set the precedent of whether they will continue to adapt and thrive in the new decade or fizzle out.
“One More Year” cracks things open with a wave of breathy, atmospheric psychedelia, musing on the cyclical, inescapable of madness of life and time: “We’re on a roller coaster stuck on its loop-de-loop/Cause what we did one day on a whim has slowly become all we do”. “Instant Destiny” taps back to the heavy synthesizing of Currents and sounds more sunny and triumphant than trippy and deep, focusing around Parker’s recent marriage and the headlong jumping into the unknown it represents. “Borderline” tosses a potpourri of late 90’s electro-pop vibes into the futuristic ethers, grooving hard and reworked from its initial release in April.
“Posthumous Forgiveness” goes deeper beyond the cycle of life to the end of it, specifically touching upon the death of Parker’s estranged father while splitting sonically between slow, somber soul and synth-heavy hip hop grooves in the song’s latter half. “Breathe Deeper” showcases dabbles of 90’s west coast hip hop grooves, an appropriately chill vibe for a song about keeping cool under stress: “If you think I couldn’t hold my own, believe me, I can.” “Tomorrow’s Dust” diverts wayward listeners away from the past to an infectious groove set against easing acoustic guitars, while “On Track” puts the focus squarely on optimism and the opportunity afforded if one stays true to the course.
The grooves get heavy along with the vibes on “Lost In Yesterday”, shifting the winds once more from aspiration and focus on the future to immersing one’s self in nostalgia. Continuing solidly along the central theme of time, “Is It True” speaks to the intimidating prospect of commitment and devotion in a relationship, while “It Might Be Time” contemplates how people can change in the long-term circumstances while bringing classic Supertramp into the 21st century. “Glimmer” serves as a short reprieve before getting into the curtain call “One More Hour”, harkening back to the opener “One More Year”. Starting from the beginning of 2019 and working down to the final hour, Kevin sees clear where he stands at this point in his life and career, and how he should view and handle the future: “How could I love again/How could I ever ask for more/And to the road ahead/into a life I can’t ignore.”
Heavy in reflection and concept while contrasting it with enough chill vibes to make his audience not have to rack their brains too hard, Kevin Parker has pulled off a great return and a better start to the next phase of his physical and musical existence with The Slow Rush. Tame Impala’s future for the next 10 years, after defining the previous 10 looks bright thus far as long as they continue down this path and gradually sophisticate their approach each step of the way. Well worth the wait, in the omni-present context of time and longing.