Album Review



by Tame Impala

5.5 / 10

Reviewed by Gareth Meade

Perth doesn’t seem the likeliest of places for a psychedelic rock band to emerge out of, but that is exactly the case for Tame Impala. Not that there are any clues to their origin in their music. If you were to listen to the band without any knowledge of their geographical location, you would swear that they were a British group out of the 60’s or 70’s. But they’re a new band; one that has an incestuous love affair with the aforementioned era and the music it created. And that is their biggest problem.

Of all the movements to be recycled, psychedelia probably wasn’t at the top of most people’s lists. It’s almost like some kind of reverse evolution has taken place whereby all of the derivatives of punk have been explored and exploited, so the antithesis of that is to delve into the sound that it ridiculed and supplanted. But whereas punk was rebellious and exciting, there is nothing rebellious and exciting about rehashing ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ by The Beatles 11 times. And that’s basically what Tame Impala’s debut album Innerspeaker does.

Having to listen to it more than once seemed like a chore, simply because there is one prevalent idea on Innerspeaker and it is done to death. All of the songs bleed into one another, which doesn’t give you the impression that you’ve just listened to an album so much as one long song. Lead singer Kevin Parker’s tendency to sound like John Lennon also becomes distracting and you have to wonder how much it is being affected. In fact there are a whole host of associations you can make, such as resemblances to The Jimi Hendrix Experience or Cream, but without anything like the expertise of those bands.

But clearly Tame Impala have struck a chord with some people, as acclaim and invites to tour with the likes of MGMT suggests. Maybe it’s simply that rock music of any kind already has a built in audience and Australia certainly has a long heritage of straightforward and loud rock music. But Tame Impala are too derivative and formulaic to imply that they will make any lasting impression on that tradition.

Total: 8
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...there is nothing rebellious and exciting about rehashing ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ by The Beatles 11 times. And that’s basically what Tame Impala’s debut album Innerspeaker does.

Ouch. That's pretty harsh. Surely its not THAT bad.
Posted by - anonymous 6 years ago

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I understand the opinion that it is partially recycled but music works in cycles.

One can't listen to The Mars Volta without thinking of Santana or Led Zeppelin or Nine Inch Nails having Gary Numan influences.

Tame Impala most definitely have late Beatles influences but the ideas from the era have been updated and pushed further. Maybe a better way to review this album would be to take the album on its merits and accept that it relates to a past template that is 40+ years old that many listeners have not heard before.
Posted by superunknown - anonymous 6 years ago

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I torrented this album when i first saw the 'solitude is bliss' video, before I read any reviews, or bragged to my friends... But I think this album is refreshing and amazing.

Most current bands are recycling the sound of the 80's (Drums, wild nothing, over the atlantic) or redoing what the leaders (animal collective) are doing... though it was good to hear songs with melody and drive and noise for a change, don't you think?

I passed the album around to friends and work collegues and they all digged it, so I'll give this one an 8.7/10, Gareth Meade!
Posted by - anonymous 6 years ago

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I agree you can definitely hear some resemblance to 60's/70's psychedelia.. almost John Lennon vs Jimi Hendrix I thought.. in fact when I first played this at work, a couple of people thought it was some lost John Lennon recording - Question is.. this such a bad thing??!

Posted by 1957 6 years ago

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oh god, i LOVE tame impala! who cares if it's derivative and over-references the 60's/70's, i think it IS refreshing in 2010, i can't think of any other new bands like them right now. personally my fav song of theirs is 'sundown syndrome' from their EP, that's what got me hooked on them. dying for them to tour here!
Posted by 7501 6 years ago

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sorry not EP, the songs they released pre-EP. but their EP kicks-ass too.
Posted by 7501 6 years ago

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tis all post modern now - weird times in music, I mean can you believe house music is now 20 years old ..holy f### ! And yes unfortunately Tame Impala borrow super heavily . Their fans mgmt actually make better records ... ah well
Posted by andy - anonymous 6 years ago

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love this band!!!!!
Posted by Rach - anonymous 5 years ago

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