“The Slow Rush,” Tame Impala (Interscope Records)
Time can be a comfort or curse. It can heal, but it can also compress, building up a pressure that begs for release.
“The Slow Rush” seems to be just that — a discharge of the creative pressure that was mounting after years of fans questioning, “What will Tame Impala do next?”
The success of the psychedelic rock band’s 2015 “Currents” allowed them to become one of the defining rock groups of the last decade. And with this album, they’ve delivered once again.
“The Slow Rush” can be viewed as an analysis of time, wrapped up in a wall of electronics, synthesizers and funk influence that cushion even the most brazen of questions. Beliefs, grudges, insecurities — how do they transform? How does one press on past the comforts of being lost in yesterday?
The album is not only tied by themes of time, but also an overarching feel that singer, writer and producer Kevin Parker is trying to prove something. Whether he’s trying to convince someone else or himself is not always clear.
“Tell everyone I’ll be alright,” he sings on “On Track,” “Because strictly speaking, I’m still on track.”
In “Breathe Deeper” this defensive tone is taken once again — "If you think I couldn’t hold my own, believe me, I can.” These lines are moderated by an upbeat psych-synth sound that masks the melancholy. But song after song the sense of insecurity reappears in the lines sung by Parker.
One of the most brilliant songs on the album is “Posthumous Forgiveness.” Parker fully confronts the complexity of coping with his father’s death, cycling through blame, anger, despair and longing over the course of the 6-minute track.
The song is effectively split in two with the first part processing his rage as minor chords on synth are played underneath — “To save all of us, you told us both to trust/But now I know you only saved yourself.”
The song builds, like mounting indignation, only to release. A certain somberness is traded for a more hopeful feel as he recounts moments he wishes he could share with his father—“Wanna tell you ‘bout my life/Wanna play you all my songs.”
The attention to detail on “Posthumous Forgiveness” is mirrored throughout “The Slow Rush.” Parker’s meticulous tendencies pay off, allowing him to create a thoughtful masterpiece.
“One more year,” Parker sings on the opening track. And 12 songs, representative of 12 months, later he concludes: “Whatever I’ve done/I did it for love.”