The second album by the psychedelic rock project of one man, Kevin Parker, builds on the success of their debut, Innerspeaker, and further develops the aesthetic and sounds since that great album. Reminiscent of a late 60’s, early 70’s band, they use the psychedelic genre as a platform to build upon, and manage to extend upon what made the era so captivating in terms of music. Parker structures songs almost as if he is an electronic producer, with a large part of the album being instrumental, with little cohesiveness throughout. This would be a problem if the instrumentation failed to maintain our interest, but it not only maintains it, the breaks are some of the best moments on the record.
As stated above, the music is stunning, but Parker himself is at his best, providing vocals that fit so well with this genre. On the impressive “Mind Mischief”, his vocals are the highlight, with lyrics reflective the album title and general theme (of being amongst other people but finding you don’t really belong and then isolating themselves), “I just don’t know where the hell I belong.” On standout “Why Won’t They Talk To Me?”, they explore the pop sound Parker is so fond of, and make great use of the drums to provide the backing for the confused manic lyric that is the song title, “Ahhhhhh, why won’t they talk to me?”
On the album’s best track “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, Parker sings about trying to convince someone to feel the same way as you (likely trying to convince her to love him as he loves her), as he yearns for it to happen, but it just isn’t happening, ”It feels like I only go backwards baby, every part of me says go ahead.” Other album highlight is the delightful “Elephant”, using the elephant as a metaphor for a very egotistical and arrogant person, to which we all know one of. This arrogance is highlighted in the lyrics, “He talks like his opinion is a simple fact.” The instrumentation and distorted sounds found on the track are the best on Lonerism.
For the creation of one man essentially, Tame Impala are a major force of musical creativity and diversity. There may be many people claiming they have no originality and are directly influenced and based off those original psychedelic bands, and while that may harbour some degree of truth, Lonerism sounds like a collection of many genres and musical era’s, all thrown into one un-orderly, hectic mess. How Parker manages to make this mess into what it is, is extraordinary, and deserves a place alongside the year’s best records.
Top Songs – Why Won’t They Talk To Me?, Feels Like We Only Go Backwards, Elephant