It is almost ironic how Kevin Parker chose Lonerism to name Tame Impala’s second full-length album because I felt none of that writhing, self-pitying, ‘Let’s listen to a sad album and weep miserably in a dark corner of our room’ pain that they call loneliness. In fact, it left a wanting feeling; a strange curiosity. And that’s more than I can say for albums that boast a 13-track list.
Perth, one of the world’s most isolated cities, is muse and home to Parker – the brainchild behind this critically acclaimed band. In fact, he cites the city as one of the driving forces of Lonerism. Living in an isolated city and engulfed in self-alienation, the seclusion gave him impetus to focus and write an album that celebrated the feeling rather than lament over it.
Parker takes us on a journey of Perth through his mind’s eye (…another great song by another great Australian band!). He allows us a bird’s eye view of the nooks and crannies of his city on tracks like ‘Music To Walk Home By’, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ and ‘Sun’s Coming Up’. With an engendered affiliation to this identity, you can definitely sense his deep-rooted love for the city and what it has to offer or what it has offered to Parker. Parker, a laudable one-man show, inspiringly wrote and composed all the songs. So every guitar riff, every reverb, every echo, every drone and every modular is specifically tuned to fit a certain emotion that Parker wants us to understand.
Following the triumph of Innerspeaker, this high-strung ode to, dare I say, The Beatles, has won over notable fans such as Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Noel Gallager and Noel Fielding, all of whom are or have been trailblazers of their craft. Needless to say, Lonerism has been long-awaited and highly anticipated by colleagues and fans alike. There is no other way to say it without sounding archetypal but the album truly does not disappoint.
On ‘Endors Toi’, there are elements reminiscent of their cult hit ‘Solitude is Bliss’ but what it really is, is a long, carefully orchestrated introduction to the grandiose ‘Apocalypse Dream’. Mid-way, slightly before the vocals hit, I am reminded of old Hollywood films where the protagonist goes through a crisis and quips to themselves like they are the decision-maker to waging a world war. It is built up, it is passionate, it is glorious. Parker’s vocals make up half the story in Lonerism, staging an all-out coup on Beatles-esque bands these days. Resembling Lennon’s soft, gentle and mysterious tone, his vocal similarity is almost eerie.
The difference between Innerspeaker and Lonerism has a lot to do with the change of instrumentation this time round. While Innerspeaker thrived on synthesizers and keys, Lonerism is supported by a great amount of electric guitar. This gives it a Pink Floyd feel, especially present on their stand-out track, ‘Elephant’ and bonus track, ‘Led Zeppelin’.
If you love The Beatles’ Rubber Soul days or if Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon changed your life, then lucky you because you just struck gold. Tame Impala masterfully combines the two sounds to give us the imagined great-ness of a collaboration between Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and Parker’s biggest influences – The Liverpool pop psychedelic maestros. And what an amazing one it is.
Listen to: ‘Elephant’, ‘Apocalypse Dream’, ‘Music to Walk Home By’
By Alyson Lopez