Saturday night fever
On his fourth studio album as Tame Impala, one-man-band Kevin Parker has completed the move away from straight-up psychedelic rock to something much more disco rooted. 2015’s “Currents” hinted at a more polished sound, but here on “The Slow Rush” there’s barely a trace of the kind of stoner-rock vibes that characterized his earlier work.
The entire album is largely devoid of any guitars, and the vocals have morphed into the realm of spacey falsettos and sampled harmonies. Instead, Parker has ramped up the use of phased loops, fuzzed-out synths and lashings of reverb on whatever he’s got plugged in to the valve amp via his laptop, all to achieve the effect of a distinctly modern sounding retro homage. Case in point; current single “Lost in Yesterday” owes more to the breezy disco of The Bee Gees than any groovy rock bands of the 70s. Parker even name-checked the brothers Gibb as the inspiration behind the album – something he hit upon during a particularly out there ‘trip’ in L.A.
“Breathe Deeper” is an easy funk roll with runs of twinkly piano, and “Glimmer” is essentially a retro-house track. “Is It True” seems made for throwing shapes on a dance floor – particularly if it’s Saturday night and you’re wearing a slighty-too-tight white suit with massive lapels.
At 34, Parker is no longer the musical outsider from Perth, and has been well and truly embraced by the mainstream. That he’s still not afraid to step beyond the parameters of what Tame Impala fans expect is something that should be applauded.
Like this? Try these:
Join The Dots
Dalston pysch-masters on album number 2.
Random Access Memories
French electronic duo bring disco up to date.
The Bee Gees
Spirits Having Flown
Late 70s disco funk swansong before the brothers Gibb fell from grace.