Tame Impala: Lonerism Album Review

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By Gabriela Solis
Music Journalist

Just over 8 years ago, in early October 2012, Tame Impala released their second studio album, Lonerism.

Kevin Parker, the man behind the music, said in an interview with DIY Magazine that he desired to experiment with his friend’s vintage synthesizer after focusing so heavily on guitar with his first album, Innerspeaker.

In addition to this newfound world of this vintage synth for Parker, he also drew inspiration from ‘70s rocker Todd Rundgren and, surprisingly, pop acts such as Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue.

In Lonerism, Parker mixes elements of pop with his usual psychedelic rock sound in such a way that can make the listener feel like they’re transcending into different dimensions with each song. The album is loud and rough, yet still dreamy and smooth.

The third track, “Apocalypse Dreams,” is perhaps the album’s most psychedelic song. The synth explosion in the middle of the song makes it a beautiful precursor to the cosmic masterpiece, “Let It Happen,” later featured in his 2015 album Currents. Personally, it feels like Parker is entering my mind and forcing me to zone out and enter a state of tranquility.

This said explosion in “Apocalypse Dreams” is a recurring concept that Parker is seen to use in many other songs throughout the album, one being the next track, “Mind Mischief.”

If its lush guitar riff didn’t already make “Mind Mischief” unforgettable, the music video will. A few songs following is “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.” Like “Mind Mischief,” the song’s repetition along with its terrifically apt music video will leave “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” stuck in your head for days.

Following “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” is my favorite song on Lonerism, “Keep On Lying.” It starts by fading in Parker’s vocals, almost making you feel like you missed a part of the song; the way the song ends is also very similar with its hazy fade-out.

It’s as if the song has no beginning and no end, which is seemingly ironic considering Parker’s line, “I guess I’ll go and tell you just as soon as I get to the end of this song.” With the song’s compelling emphasis on guitar and the confusion that many factors within the track can leave the listener feeling, I often wonder how “Keep On Lying” could go so unnoticed by many.

Right after is another single and one of Tame Impala’s best-known songs, “Elephant.” Being one of Tame Impala’s best known songs, “Elephant” is not quite as underrated as “Keep On Lying” and fortunately gets all of the credit it deserves. This is another favorite of mine for many reasons, one being Parker’s suspiciously John Lennon-esque vocals. Like many of the other songs on Lonerism, Parker invades the bridge of the song with synth madness. The tune’s restless and catchy beat can leave you nodding your head without noticing; It’s undoubtedly my favorite Tame Impala song to hear live.

Lonerism is the perfect album to give a listen to really hear what Tame Impala’s music can be at its prime. Parker’s impressive use of dreamy synths and rich guitar riffs makes it too easy to get sucked into this astral masterpiece.

With 70,000 units sold, Lonerism is certified platinum in Australia, won an ARIA Award for Album Of The Year in 2013, and was even nominated for a Grammy in 2013 as well. With such a success as Lonerism, Tame Impala arguably dominates the world of modern psychedelic rock and will likely remain to do so for a very long time.

Featured image by Leif Podhajsky and Kevin Parker.

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