This February, the popular Aussie indie rock group Tame Impala released its fourth studio album The Slow Rush. The latest project by Kevin Parker, the lead singer, guitarist, writer, editor, mixer, and everything in between, was highly anticipated after a five-year wait since his breakout album Currents.
Since Currents, Parker has headlined Coachella, married, and performed on Saturday Night Live. Parker’s trippy style of psychedelic rock reflects his self-diagnosed perfectionism. Listening to Tame, with their repeated lyrics, strong baselines, and trance-like music allow his listeners to silence their overly anxious minds—something that in the current atmosphere has not gone unappreciated.
Parker tries to embody this when he records too. As someone who writes, mixes, and sings every line on each of his albums he is prone to doubt and overthinking. Tame Impala’s music may seem to be effortless and improvised as well, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Every song on the album is meticulously crafted to send a certain message in a certain way and takes an incredible amount of time to produce.
During the final stages of production, however, tragedy struck when Parker’s rental home and all of his gear was incinerated in the historic Woolsey Fire. Parker was forced to flee with his laptop, his life, and his Vintage Hofner bass, “the only thing, really, that I care about losing.”
Despite this, he continued to work on The Slow Rush and it has clearly paid off. The album is extraordinarily detailed and reaches into many different genres of the last 50 years.
During an interview, Parker described the album as somewhere between Philly soul, acid house, and contemporary R&B. Parker doesn’t sample anything, but he is able to emulate the sound of other musicians such as Jimmy Page on “Posthumous Forgiveness” and Daryl Hall on “On Track.” This sampled feel coupled with his use of boom-bap style drums make his music feel in touch with hip-hop culture, which has helped propel Tame Impala to mainstream popularity. Parker’s perfectionist mindset can be exemplified in the middle of his seven-minute closing track “One More Hour.” He sings, “As long as I can, as long as I can spend some time alone,” on top of steady piano chords.
Controlled, but somehow beautiful chaos, the work of a perfectionist.
Suddenly there is heavy apocalyptic guitar, crashing drums, and Moog synthesizers firing all over. The effect is like that of having multiple Youtube videos playing at the same time. Controlled, but somehow beautiful chaos, the work of a perfectionist.