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Tame Impala Tame ImpalaLonerism

8.7 / 10

“There’s a party in my head, and nobody’s invited”. This line, which could be from Deerhunter or Animal Collective, belongs to Kevin Parker. Specifically, to the single that Tame Impala released to introduce itself two years ago, a fabulous “Solitude Is Bliss”, which summed up the project’s particularity perfectly. Like so many others, Parker, who cooks up the songs that Dave Fridmann later mixes practically alone, insists on singing about feeling lonely in an alienated world. He’s 26 years old, defines himself as a loner since he was a teenager, and he says that for him, composing music is like facing a void. He also assures us that the success garnered by his debut and the public relations he’s had to do since then, have done nothing but confirm to him that he is incapable of striking up a conversation at any type of event without feeling stupid. Perhaps for this reason, he’s invented a word like “lonerism”, and the cover art of his new album is dominated by a fence that keeps him from enjoying the Luxembourg Gardens. Maybe that’s why nobody’s invited to the party that’s echoing in his head.

The key to what’s going on in there seems to have to do with the use of various narcotics. Parker counters his afflicted lyrics with a sizzling instrumental energy, injecting lyrics about more or less agreed-upon isolation with trippy bursts of distortion that make them stand up and walk on their own. “Apocalypse Dreams”, a psychedelic whirlwind inspired by Von Trier’s “Melancholia”, perfectly exemplifies a schizophrenic duality, reminding one elaborately of what Caribou’s “Melody Day” did with the 60s. Our star claims that the only ones to sublimate the idea of bringing together massive sound and introspective lyrics in the manner that he aspires to achieve were Supertramp, an interesting reference, although others stand out in “Lonerism”: acid rock like Cream, galactic psychedelia like Flaming Lips, exacerbated colour like MGMT if they took themselves more seriously... Their revival, which is clearly irreverent, seems to have been passed through a filter of his own originality and governed over at all times by an almost religious respect for the fatter Beatles and godfather Todd Rundgren, who they have brought back for a remix of the solid “Elephant”.

If Innerspeaker was already a cosmic, unrestrained, explosive album, “Lonerism” raises the stakes without sacrificing a single one of the group’s differentiating features. What’s more, it settles them and refines them in songs that are heavy, but fluid, tangled, but less so, which line up into a perfect chaos in which guitars remain crunchy, pedals tremble, and synths and samples take on a particularly central role. On indestructible foundations such as stubborn riffs ( “Mind Mischief”), astral synths ( “Why Won’t They Talk To Me?”), lovely pianos ( “Sun’s Coming Up”) and looped suggestive whispers that coax the ear like siren songs ( “Be Above It”, “Keep On Lying”), the songs sway in a sound similar to that cooked up for his girlfriend in Melody’s Echo Chamber, although it is more mature and crafted. A perfectly-executed sound that Parker recorded in various locations – including Perth, Vienna and on a flight from Singapore to London - where a multitude of ideas converge, all pointing to the same place, as if a centrifugal force were dragging them all towards a single centre. The range of colours multiplies with every listen, as if one were turning a kaleidoscope. And the side effects are absolutely mind-blowing.

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