Kevin Parker is a master of creating those ever-elusive afterparty vibes. With his Tame Impala super-project, he has gradually evolved from chugging desert rock to exultant balearic dance-pop, cementing himself as the voice of a generation stuck somewhere between nostalgia and sincerity. Latest offering, fourth studio album The Slow Rush, does much to step up the shimmering melancholic sound that Tame Impala has become synonymous with.
The Slow Rush may disappoint Tame Impala’s early fans with its wholehearted embrace of beats, bright synths and unabashed pop. But that’s not to say it’s one big party. Songs like On Track are maudlin and washed out, even if Is It True? sounds squarely aimed at the more wistful reaches of the dancefloor. One thing is clear, though: the record’s production values are high, which unfortunately means some songs feel overworked. We may be deep in the Auto-Tune renaissance, but tracks like Posthumous Forgiveness are less Frank Ocean and more Peter Frampton. Elsewhere, the unappealing moment of One More Year’s hands-in-the-air breakdown of the constituent time periods of a year – “52 weeks! 4 seasons! One reason!” – veers on cringeworthy, but is quickly rescued by its perfectly serviceable house and Italo grooves.
The Slow Rush borders on pastiche at times, but it makes a successful pitch for festival headline slots and Instagrammable mornings after.