If Kevin Parker appears relaxed, then perhaps that’s because he is. The epitome of zen when onstage with Tame Impala, he’s somehow managed to locate the fine balance between success and individual passion, able to please a global audience of millions while also – most importantly – pleasing himself.
It helps that he’s got a certain amount of power. After all, he’s worked with Lady Gaga and Rihanna, and was able to tell his label that new album ‘The Slow Rush’ - Tame Impala’s first since 2015’s ‘Currents’ - was going to be delayed as it simply wasn’t ready.
In the end, the wait is definitely worth it. ‘The Slow Rush’ is the sound of a band broadening out, trying new things, while also honing in on their core; it’s not a reinvention, but neither does it tread water – indeed, it’s another aspect of Parker’s innate sense of balance.
Framed by ‘One More Year’ and ‘One More Hour’, it’s a record where structure is key, and the sonic is everything. Led by Australia’s foremost astral cosmonaut, ‘The Slow Rush’ simply sounds exceptional, with a gorgeous quality of sound that flirts with both the exact and the unashamedly raw.
The Antipodean psychedelic wanderer pushes the group into some fresh areas, while ‘The Slow Rush’ is essentially held together by that stellar mid-section, a finely honed compendium of space rock, shoegaze, and electronic inflections.
‘Borderline’ fans will already know, but it still feels fresh, giving added nuance when taken as one chapter of a full project. ‘Lost In Yesterday’ has this sighing sense of the magical, while ‘Tomorrow’s Dust’ is full of starry-eyed promise. ‘Glimmer’ has an endearingly warped, lysergic sense of focus, while Kevin Parker’s obsession with the hour glass – perhaps an acknowledgement of deadlines missed – comes to the fore once more on ‘It Might Be Time’.
Speaking to Clash recently for a full cover story, Kevin Parker spoke of his unwillingness to be tied down to one area of music. “In a way, that’s kind of a blessing, because I don’t feel responsibility to be a part of any scene, or uphold any values of any kind of scene,” he mused. “Which I would imagine could be one of the most stifling things creatively; this idea that you have to please a certain demographic or a certain group of people. I could imagine being bogged down by that.”
‘The Slow Rush’ feels like an emphatic attempt to shake free of those preconceptions, to assert a willingness to explore while still remaining rooted to a core aesthetic. A solar system held in place by its own revolutions, ‘The Slow Rush’ is testament to the patient productivity and unrelenting creativity of Kevin Parker.
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