Tame Impala, aka Kevin Parker, released the greatly anticipated album “The Slow Rush” five years after “Currents,” which brought him into the spotlight. “The Slow Rush” is a genre blending masterpiece of smooth psychedelia, disco-funk, pop and house music. Thoughtfully well-produced, the richness of synths, electronic keys and the repetition of lines put the listener into a trance of sonic ecstasy as Parker reflects on the passing of time and the turbulence of inner change.
“One More Year” is the first track on the album, opening with reverberating robot vocoder vocal effects, reminiscent of Daft Punk. He presents a primary lyrical theme of worrying about the limits of time, relaying his desire to live life to the fullest for one more year and then one more.
“Instant Destiny,” one of the poppier tracks on the album, draws upon this theme of living fully and fearlessly, as Parker contemplates his proposal to his now wife. “I’m about to do something crazy, no more delayin’.”
A revised version of the single “Borderline” appears next on the album. Smooth drums and groovy bass loops juxtapose with lyrics describing a rocky relationship on the verge of collapse, “caught between the tides of pain and rapture.”
A mournful guitar riff opens “Posthumous Forgiveness,” an emotional track where Parker vulnerably examines the strained relationship he had with his father, who passed. A battle of heavy-handed synths spit the track in two. The second half is a peaceful embrace of change, as Parker wishes he could “play you all my songs and hear your voice sing along.”
“Breathe Deeper,” one of my favorite tracks on the album, is carried by a rising, hammering piano and spacy synths. It describes the art of mindfulness and deep-breathing to find inner peace amid life’s stresses. As the chorus of synths rises, I feel like I am transcending into a dream-like state.
The theme of time presents itself again in “Tomorrow’s Dust.” An arpeggio guitar lick parallels the notion that what we do today will be the memories of tomorrow. Rather than be “blinded by a memory,” Parker argues we should forget about yesterday and focus on what is now.
“On Track,” is another pleasant layering of synths, electric piano and guitar. Despite Parker’s fear of the future and change that manifests in the other tracks, with the release of The Slow Rush, he says “Strictly speaking I’m still on track, and all my dreams are still intact.” He is where he needs to be.
“Lost in Yesterday” examines our obsession with nostalgia and feelings of regret: “If they hold you erase them.” A groovy drum beat and bassline give bouncing life to this track.
Parker confesses his love for his girlfriend over synths and conga rolls in “It is True.” The lyrics are a conversation between them, where she questions if he is telling the truth. Terrified of the future’s uncertainty and the possibility that his feelings will change he replies, “We’ll see how it goes, until we know what the future holds…we’ll see.”
The cheery electric keys and phased drums in “It Might Be Time” closely resemble Supertramp’s “The Logical Song,” and I am here for it. The bright, upbeat sound is dichotomous with depressive lyrical laments that “nothing lasts forever,” as Parker watches his friends grow distant, as they move into new phases of life. “It might be time to face it.” He might have to grow up, but he wishes he could keep the dream alive.
“Glimmer” is a pure house track, looping with a four on the floor beat. It is the shortest track on the album, serving almost as an interlude, “a glimmer of hope” leading into the album’s final track.
The Slow Rush ends with “One More Hour”—Parker’s reflection on his past, present and future of making music. He repeats “I did it for love…I did it for fun…I did it for fame…but never for money.” The verse ends with an ambiguous “until now.” He is about to start a new chapter of his life, and time is crunching; there is no turning back now. At this point, he finds himself in a place of peace where he “can roll into another year.”
The Slow Rush is beautifully thematic and well-produced, with impressive instrumentation and creative melding of genres. While this album is a change from Currents, it seems to be a promising new year for Tame Impala.