There’s two directions Kevin Parker could have proceeded in after the veritable modern masterpiece that is Lonerism; he could re-create music that suddenly, though not auspiciously, became radio hits or pursue a line of recording that incorporated the sonic equivalent of melting wax on a velveteen lounge in a coastal recording studio nobody remembers but everybody wanted to get into. He chose the latter. And yet, very few are willing to give Parker the credit for the decisions that have made Tame Impala relevant, globally prominent, effusive and one of the best goddamned live bands to see. The resistance seems to come from the fact that the band’s earlier work was so inherently rooted in nostalgia that any step forward would be an assault on the fans.
The Slow Rush is not an attack, nor is it an re-invention, nor is it a ploy to secure the band on festivals for 2020 and beyond. The album is a devastating look into outwardly projected mindfulness, a direct vein to global nature, and a natural progression for a band that has been consistently fascinated with discovering a living algorithm that reveals our interconnectedness. As a whole, the singles released nigh on a year ago begin to garner a vast amount of context. “Borderline” transforms itself from an indulgent bit of synth-pop to the catalyst of revealing the whole of The Slow Rush. Likewise, “It Might Be Time” is no longer a perfunctory single, serving as the touchstone of Parker’s fascination with the concept of time. This particular fascination is simultaneously vast and almost tediously granular, but neither strays away from the heart of the record – time is a construct through any lens.
Though, philosophizin’ aside (and what the hell do I know, anyway?) K.P. knows how to assemble a proper rock’n’roll album for those of us ready to immerse ourselves in the deep body of water this is any Tame Impala release. Sure, the instrumentation might have drifted towards the lucidity of electronics rather than your run of the mill psychedelic-rock quartet, but this is far from the first time the band has dabbled in it. “Tomorrow’s Dust” could’ve easily been on a prior record, just imagine a searing electric guitar throughout it, dubbed backwards and forwards and covered in fuzz. Luckily, there’s no imagination necessary, however. These songs don’t need to be put into the context of “I wish they rocked harder.” If anything, they need to be put in the context of “How I am spending my limited time here and why aren’t living every track?” The binary of the music is purposely ever-present and hopes to unite us as only a sophisticated set of coding can.
Tame Impala has never been more confident in their ability to deliver than The Slow Rush. We are lucky enough to experience this new era of psychedelia alongside the band, and what is more proverbially psychedelic than breaking the mold of the very genre the music was borne unto? You can either join the party or stand outside of it.