First Listen: Tame Impala, 'Lonerism'
Not a collection of psychedelic freakouts so much as a collection of controlled psychedelic slow-burns, Tame Impala's Lonerism makes alienation and introversion sound both alluring and, ironically, inviting. Listen to Lonerism streaming now via WFUV and NPR Music prior to the album's October 9 release.
On the surface, Tame Impala is another big, brash, psychedelic rock band, with lots of fussy studio tricks and grandiose solos — even on disc, a light show is implied. Kevin Parker's vocals can seem almost secondary to guitars that buzz and fuzz compellingly, but his emotional distance serves a thematic purpose: For Tame Impala, Parker writes songs about solitude, and about maintaining distance from others that needn't be literal.
Both of the Australian band's album titles tell the same story: Innerspeaker. Lonerism. The latter's songs, even when only fragments of a given lyric can be discerned, convey a sense of walls being built; of an arm's length being extended. Not a collection of psychedelic freakouts so much as a collection of controlled psychedelic slow-burns — though the fat, swirling guitars in "Endors Toi" would make Swervedriver proud — Lonerism (out Oct. 9) makes alienation and introversion sound both alluring and, ironically, inviting. — Stephen Thompson