Tame Impala: Lonerism
Alternative & IndieRock
Any non-Australian would be hard pressed to count more than a handful of successful bands from there: ACDC in the 70s? INXS in the 80s? Silverchair in the 90s? Success is very difficult and for a number of valid reasons: Australia is miles away from most of the world, and only has a handful of cities – making recording, touring, promotion and survival financially and practically difficult.
But in the last decade, the musical landscape has been drastically turned on its head as developments in home recording techniques and the Internet have allowed isolated creativity to surge and production/promotion costs to disappear. Solo-projects that may sound like punk orchestras screaming from the top of the Eiffel tower, often turn out to be some random twenty-something year old sitting at home, at his computer, with a guitar.
The songs were generally guitar and keyboard driven, quite psychedelic sounding with plenty of cosmological imagery, all carried by Parker’s spacey, stoned out voice – which uncannily sounds like John Lennon. However, there was often a little too much fuzz and haziness to see anything truly special or unique in it.
The album is lyrically beautiful, but in an odd way.
The first single off the album, ‘Apocalypse Dreams’, starts off with Parker sounding so excited that “this could be the day [that the world ends],” only to become disappointed when it’s “just another day”; he then genuinely asks himself whether he even cares. “Everything is changing, while I am just sitting here/Nothing ever changes, no matter how long you do your hair” float in and around through various points in the song.
Unless this point has evaded readers thus far, Kevin Parker is not a linear lyricist. But it would appear he’s not a linear musician or songwriter either; the music supports and carries his contradictory mind so well, it would be impossible to separate them.
Another album highlight, “It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” sees Parker singing the title lyrics (replacing ‘we’ with ‘I’ in the song) with beautiful enthusiasm to an almost celebratory, ‘Hey Jude’ coda, anthem-like pop melody – again later infiltrated with characteristic self-doubt: “I got my hopes up again/Oh no, not again.”