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Album Review

by Tame Impala


Review Date
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.

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