Have you ever felt like the Beatles’ psychedelic era was cut too short? Do you consider Sgt. Peppers as one of the greatest musical achievements of the 20th Century, with all of its LSD-influenced wonderment and surrealism, but have been unsatisfied with everything by anyone that came out after? In these cases, listen to Tame Impala. Everything about this act is like a spiritual explosion of everything the 60’s hippie movement set up, and acts as a propulsion unit to make it relevant again today.
2010 introduced listeners worldwide to the Australian psychedelic/space rock outfit Tame Impala with the record Innerspeaker. This compendium wowed the world’s population and made those interested in the psychedelia scene stand up and take notice. This was achieved by its complexity, boldness and striking string of tracks that never seemed to let up in trippy ecstatic quality. The same vein has been struck for 2012’s follow-up, Lonerism. This record largely feels like a follow-up to Innerspeaker, as the same paths are retread, the same musical ideas are presented and little new ground is covered. Not necessarily a bad thing however; considering how impressive and accomplished the band’s debut was, more of the same could be exactly the route that should have been taken.
Many of the tracks present here are very similar on first listen, although their unique features start to unveil themselves after an indulgence into the sound that is being offered. ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ mixes the formula up a little somewhere through the midpoint of the album with an understated, simple drum pattern and an infectious, interesting synth warble throughout. The vocals and basslines that shimmer over the top combine to create an attractive mix, and as a result, a highlight. “Keep on Lying” on the other hand, seems to be an attempt to make the band seem as retroactive as possible while still sounding contemporary, the pop structure and key progression is so dated that it actually works as an adventurous move.
The result of a continuation of the band’s sound is a cohesive and direct space rock album that achieves its goal of providing an aural soundscape of a pleasant drug trip. The guitars still sound warped and operatic, the drums still reverberate around the studio and the synths create a beautiful wavy backdrop with which the rest of the band sails upon. (...and yes, vocalist Kevin Parker still sounds exactly like John Lennon.) While Lonerism doesn’t demolish expectations and paint new canvases with unforeseen and unprecedented modern songwriting techniques, it provides an entertaining listen that keeps the classic sound of the 60’s rock movement alive.