Written by our good mates over at The Shop
Sounding as if it fell through a tear in the space-time continuum, Tame Impala’s 2012 LP Lonerism is an immaculately crafted piece of near-perfect 1970s pop.
The title is the story. Kevin Parker wrote and recorded all of the music alone in his home studio. Dave Fridmann – producer of MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular and The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots – mixed.
The pairing is spot on. Think of Lonerism as a meeting of a modern day Todd Rundgren and the Phil Spector of the Alt-Rock era. As Todd and Phil before him, Parker exercises his demons to tape. Try “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”:
The album bends and swirls through a landscape of vintage analog synthesis, compressed and crunchy snare hits, dripping but jangly electric guitars and old out-of-tune upright pianos.
There is not a wasted note or lyric on the LP. Thanks to the simple, catchy songwriting and Parker’s ethereal vocals, the album floats by with the ease of a grade school summer vacation.
Parker’s songwriting is outmatched by his proficiency as a rhythm section. The bass playing is pure The Beatles era McCartney trickery – melodic, picked and right in the pocket. The keyboards squiggle as if copy/pasted from a mid-60s Wrecking Crew studio session. The confident, sloppy drumming would make Ringo proud.
The standout example is the first single “Elephant”.
“He pulled the mirrors off his Cadillac because he doesn’t like it looking like he looks back.”
But Parker loves looking back, especially at Rundgren’s A Wizard, A True Star and Todd.
It is no coincidence the wizard, the true star remixed the “Elephant” for release prior to the LP.
“You know that I got to be above it now,” Parker sings on the opening track.
A powerful personal reflection or commentary on the current state of pop music and terrestrial radio in general?
If you’re a fan of vintage or pop music in general, Lonerism is a must listen.
Follow us: @theshopatlantic