Lonerism by Tame Impala Review
By Olivia Milne
Upon first listening to the sound of Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala, newcomers might be tempted to label them as just another “revivalist” band trying to imitate the sounds of The Beatles in their glory days. But I can assure you, this five-piece act is something different.
The project of leader Kevin Parker, Tame Impala’s second album Lonerism was released this October. Slightly reminiscent of their first album Innerspeaker, Lonerism is an album centered around the blissful feeling of, well, being alone.
The album opens with title track, “Be Above It”, a largely instrumental piece. While some might listen to this piece and beg for more of Parker’s hauntingly beautiful lyrics, the effects and instruments more than make up for this. From the opening, the whispered line “gotta be above it” serves as a backbeat for the pounding drums and wobbling guitar. Parker’s voice simply melds all these elements together, and doesn’t define them. The lyrics are something probably every teenager can relate to, as they talk of being above the more distasteful aspects of life and waiting for your time to come.
The rest of the album follows this format, praising the virtues of being alone with lilting vocals and floating beats. Other standouts from this album include “Elephant”, which speaks of people from the so-called, “right side” of the social spectrum, those who have never been at a loss for company. The song says, “Well, he feels like an elephant/Shaking his big grey trunk for the hell of it.” The song criticises typical social conventions, such the false idea as those with many friends are happier than those who spend time alone.
Another standout from the album is Endors Toi. The guitar is psychedelic, almost cacophonic at times. Tame Impala layers instruments and sound so effortlessly in this track that the listener could spend hours just analyzing and breaking down its complex, beautiful sound elements without any regard to the equally as mysterious lyrics. The feeling of this song can almost sum up the entire album, a surreal, cerebral experience.
To sum up the idea of listening to Lonerism, while listening to the album, you feel small. You feel utterly, entirely alone, and you love every minute of it. Lonerism manages to make the subtle, but important distinction of being alone and being lonely. Kevin Parker preaches the idea of being able to escape from the real world into your own head, of being above the trivial issues we often find ourselves so consumed by.
Tame Impala has done something unique and wonderful on this album. They give a respectful nod to musicians of the past, while adding in electronic elements to meld together a sound comfortably familiar while innovative at the same time without being forced. Lonerism is the perfect album to listen to when you’re walking home or sitting alone in your room, feeling utterly amazed to be anything at all.