Tame Impala - 'The Slow Rush' Album Review
Updated: Mar 8
By Danny Dodds
Whenever any artist plummets so violently into the mainstream there's an anxiety regarding what they plan to do with their new-found audience. Luckily, Tame Impala's transition from Lonerism to Currents in 2015 was far from rocky as they shifted away from some of the harsh, grungier sounds they displayed in 2012, over to some poppier, smoother and more lush arrangements to cater to a wider audience. With The Slow Rush, there's a clear sense of safety across the tracklist, as we hear Kevin Parker move further and further from his fuzzy rock roots, and deeper into the psychedelic pop sound.
The highs on The Slow Rush are astronomical, and many of these come through the teaser tracks released in the months leading up to the album, all of which seemed to suggest a more existential, introspective and grand follow up to their much-adored 2015 album Currents. The tracks 'Posthumous Forgiveness' and 'It Might Be Time' are among some of the best tracks Kevin has ever put out, as the former is a slow and mournful look at regret while the latter is a psychedelic, grungy banger about the passage of time that boasts probably the densest and best instrumental on the album.
Unfortunately however, if the peaks on The Slow Rush are mountainous, the valleys are cavernous, as there are a handful of uninteresting or simply disappointing tracks spread across the short tracklist as the one-two punch of 'Tomorrow's Dust' into 'On Track' present some of the worst songs in the Tame Impala discography. Thankfully outside of these two duds, the rest of the album retains the excitement of the singles, as the funky 'Is It True' and 'Glimmer' see Kevin doing his best Daft Punk impression, with shockingly fun results. In terms of production, The Slow Rush is, for the most part, fun, bubbly and dance-able, but there's not denying it isn't hardly as exciting as we know Kevin can be.
Lyrically, Kevin explores the process of time and it's effect on the artist, to a frequently powerful effect. The opener 'One More Year' is a retrospective look at a relationship and the ways in which it has developed, something that is poignantly contrasted by the closing track 'One More Hour', that instead looks forward at a pessimistic future and the apparent erosion of said relationship. Both songs feature some hard-hitting and fantastic lyrical content, of which we have only seen glimpses of in the past and unfortunately only see in short bursts here.
The Slow Rush is another exceptional pop record from Tame Impala, and yet it's difficult not to feel a little underwhelmed. When Tame Impala transitioned from psychedelic rock into psychedelic pop, they did so with an experimental twinge as Currents managed to bring something fresh to the pop sound, as Kevin's influence can be heard in everyone from Travis Scott to James Blake. With The Slow Rush however, it's difficult to see it as anything more than a solid set of psychedelic pop tunes. For many this is ideal as his existential lyrics and buttery vocals compliment the smooth instrumentals perfectly, however, when compared to the rest of Kevin Parker's genre-defining discography, it's easy to see why Kevin yearns so much for the past on The Slow Rush as whenever I listen back to Lonerism, I can't help but agree with him.
Listen to the album below: