Review: Kevin Parker Balances Complex Production, Tame Impala's 'The Slow Rush' Kevin Parker's fourth album as the leader of Australian rock band Tame Impala comes after a five-year gap. It's music that comes wrapped in its own bubble, far from the cascading miseries on the news.
NPR logo

Review: On 'The Slow Rush,' Tame Impala Masks Inner Turmoil With Sonic Euphoria

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/805195994/808275211" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Review: On 'The Slow Rush,' Tame Impala Masks Inner Turmoil With Sonic Euphoria

Review

Music Reviews

Review: On 'The Slow Rush,' Tame Impala Masks Inner Turmoil With Sonic Euphoria

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/805195994/808275211" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The band Tame Impala has just released its first album in five years, and the band is really just a 34-year-old Australian singer, songwriter and producer, Kevin Parker. He records most of the instruments himself and then hires musicians to accompany him for tours. Our reviewer Tom Moon says the new album, which is called "The Slow Rush," is easily his best work.

(SOUNDBITE OF TAME IMPALA SONG, "BREATHE DEEPER")

TOM MOON, BYLINE: You don't get "The Slow Rush" all at once. There's too much going on. Maybe first, you lock onto one of these insanely catchy refrains.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BREATHE DEEPER")

TAME IMPALA: (Singing) If you think I couldn't hold my own, believe me, I can. Believe me, I can. Believe me, I can. If you need someone to tell you that you're special, I can. Believe me, I can. Believe me, I can.

MOON: It's as though Kevin Parker, the mastermind of Tame Impala, has stumbled onto ancient rhythmic codes that unlock little-understood pleasure centers in the brain.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORDERLINE")

TAME IMPALA: (Singing) Gone a little far, gone a little far this time with something. Rudy said it's fine. They used to do this all the time in college.

MOON: The tracks draw together elements of rock and R&B, hip-hop and electronic dance music. Even when the grooves are heavy, the music feels light, resolutely upbeat. Some solo auteurs load up every inch of the canvas, but Parker gives his melodies lots of room.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOMORROW'S DUST")

TAME IMPALA: (Singing) So why do I go on, on repeat?

MOON: That serene, approachable tone is a mask of sorts. The songs on "The Slow Rush" tell of stalled relationships, stunted ambitions and other messy life situations. On this track, Parker offers heartbreaking forgiveness to his late father, who was largely absent when he was growing up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "POSTHUMOUS FORGIVENESS")

TAME IMPALA: (Singing) Want to tell you about the time. Want to tell you about my life. Want to play you all my songs and hear your voice sing along. I want to say it's all right. You're just a man, after all. And I know you have demons. I got some of my own.

MOON: Most of the album unfolds this way. Expressions of inner turmoil arrive shrouded in gorgeous waves of euphoric sound. Still, Parker can cut brutally to the chase, as he does on what could be the theme song of this OK, Boomer moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IT MIGHT BE TIME")

TAME IMPALA: (Singing) It might be time to face it. It ain't as fun as it used to be, no. You're going under. You ain't as young as you used to be. It might be time to face it. You aren't as cool as you used to be.

MOON: Hard truths rarely sound this lovely.

KELLY: The latest from Tame Impala - it's called "The Slow Rush." Our reviewer is Tom Moon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IT MIGHT BE TIME")

TAME IMPALA: (Singing) It might be time to face it.

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.