Psychedelic rock’s recent commercial success is, in part, Tame Impala founder Kevin Parker’s fault. The success of Tame Impala’s third studio release, Currents, shows that he’s ready to mold the genre into whatever he wants.
After Currents, it’s clear that Parker has a new idea about what psychedelic music should sound like. From the band’s smash hit “The Less I Know the Better” to the lesser-known “Gossip,” it’s sounding more electronic than the days of Innerspeaker, its first release.
Innerspeaker’s production, while still high-quality, relies heavily on guitar distortion for its psychedelic sound. Since Currents, however, Parker has retreated to a heavier reliance on bass and synthesizers for the sound fans look for.
Innerspeaker and Lonerism are more abstract albums that tell a story instrumentally. They’re heavily produced albums, but Currents changed the production level fans are used to from Tame Impala. It’s a better groove, more consistent than the keys and guitar included on the band’s first two albums.
Many grassroots Tame Impala fans look down on that change. But, as the new singles from the forthcoming The Slow Rush emerge, it’s clear that the quality of Tame’s music is only getting more sophisticated and better arranged. The poppier sound Parker arranges appeals to both a wider audience and its original fans.
Kevin Parker knows what he’s doing. Psychedelic music, he realizes, has broken through the boundaries set by technological limitations. Using the synthesizer alongside meticulous guitar pedals makes for an intense experience.
No one sounds like Kevin Parker. And the new single from The Slow Rush, “It Might Be Time,” is Parker finding his pop roots. After working with producer Mark Ronson, he knows just how to make a pop record. It appeals to a wider audience while still being the same quality of music fans have come to love.
The Slow Rush, so far, is already a breakaway from the precedent set by the first three studio releases. “It Might Be Time” and “Borderline” are the only two songs released from the new album, but both show that Tame Impala isn’t bound by the restrictions of psychedelic rock.
Both hardcore and casual Tame Impala fans are looking forward to the changes coming to the new album. From the progression of skill on Currents to the exciting new singles from the upcoming album The Slow Rush, Tame Impala has put psychedelic rock back on the map.
Shelby Campbell is a junior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Shelby know by tweeting her @bloodbuzzohioan.