Record review: Tame Impala – Lonerism (2012, LP)

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In what must be one of the most anticipated Australian releases of recent weeks, Perth’s Tame Impala have dropped their second album, and what a blissful mess of fuzzed-out prog-pop it is. Singer and main songwriter Kevin Parker recently said he felt the pressure of trying to follow up the phenomenally successful Innerspeaker was going to be too much for him, resulting in the need to pretend his new songs were destined for a side project with no consequence. His methods clearly paid off, and the proof is in the psychedelic pudding on Lonerism. Generous at fifty minutes, the sound is not unlike that of their debut, but with a few new twists and turns to keep the die-hard fan interested. Extensive use of effects pedals and the construction of expansive, immersive soundscapes are the backbone of the album, with a few synths and an added dreaminess thrown in for good measure. As the title suggests, the lyrical themes involve isolation and introspection, but are tempered with a naivety that retains a sense of a light-heartedness and more than a little hope. Single ‘Elephant’ is a highlight in a fuzzed-out T-Rex kind of way, while ‘She Just Won’t Believe Me’ rocks in ‘Helter Skelter’-like fashion before an abrupt finish at fifty-eight seconds leaves you feeling a bit robbed. If a classic pop song and a ’50s sci-fi movie had a baby, it would be third track ‘Apocalypse Dreams’; its soaring, searing synths beg to take you on a tripped-out interplanetary journey, or to some dark recess of your mind. It’s not all tip-top; the repetitive riffing on a couple of tracks – including opener ‘Be Above It’ – can be a bit much, but overall Lonerism is a fine album. (Modular)

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