Review: The Slow Rush, Tame Impala (2020)
February 14th, also known as Valentine’s Day, marked the release of Tame Impala’s much anticipated fourth album The Slow Rush. As a treat for their fans in certain cities, the record was available at listening parties across the world. Montreal’s well-known plateau dive bar, L’Escogriffe, welcomed an abundance of freshly legal tiny beanie boys and others to listen to the album altogether. It might've been the combination of the dim lighting, laser lights, smoke machine, low ceiling, the quite specific crowd and music itself but it all felt like a scene from a ‘coming of age-party-indie film’. To quote fellow music critic Mr.Wavvy (Max Tenenbaum) “I love the initiative, our generation doesn’t have enough memorable “Where were you the first time you heard this album?” stories.” I found this to be very factual, I honestly cannot remember listening to a full album for the first time except this one and it won't be forgotten anytime soon.
One More Year began after the DJ’s announcement that the record was starting and like the sand flowing from the window in the album artwork; everyone suddenly flowed into the bar, drinks in hand, ready to dance in every crevice of the place. It was hard to distinguish the songs since we had no track list to look at but it was interesting to see how everyone was in their own head, creating their own space to fully pay attention. Once Borderline and Posthumous Forgiveness came on, a sense of familiarity and looseness settled upon the crowd and everyone was set.
Keeping us on a high; the repetitive groove and lyrics of Breathe Deeper had all of us trying to sing along quickly while immediately getting down. The guitar and shakers at the start of Tomorrow’s Dust felt like a fresh breeze was passing through. Everything suddenly felt light and airy as we swayed in the crammed and hot bar. The song gave us time to breathe but still kept us hooked with some signature synths. It's a good middle part to the album after continuous dancing.
In a haze of my own, the transition between Tomorrow’s Dust and the beginning of On Track caught my attention. From the far away conversation to the heavy piano mixed with the enchanting synths, my ears were wide open awaiting the drop. The kick and crash from the drum hitting at every last word of the chorus was that edge that was needed to keep hanging onto the song.
The most memorable moment is the entirety of Lost In Yesterday. The stage was occupied by groups of friends who had clearly abused of the single beforehand. The track had a sense of revival and rejoice amongst everyone there as the musically fuel danced moves were bigger and better than earlier.
Staying on a high note, Is It True’s perfect placement in the album kept the bar moving. With It Might be Time playing after, this sequence of songs was probably the peak of the night. The album was coming to an end and all I could think about was how I need tickets for their Montreal concert on June 3rd.
Glimmer needs to be more than 2 minutes. The predominantly instrumental song felt like we were entering a whole new section of the album that welcomed clubbing. It would be interesting for Tame Impala to explore more of that upbeat dance track and perhaps turn it into an EP? Something to think about.
The 7 minute closer, One More Hour, was a blur because of it longevity. The stretches of instrumental chaos felt stressful, especially not knowing if anything was coming next or what would be sequenced next in the track. Listening now, it hugs the 11 previous tracks perfectly to complete the album while leaving us wanting more.
I think we all kind of ignored the meaning of the lyrics, or the lyrics completely during this initial listen of The Slow Rush. Listening to the record for the first time with people around was a time to vibe to the intricacy of the tracks created by Kevin Parker and observe the reactions of others.
Currents was such an impactful record. It stayed relevant during its near 5 years of life. It really put the band at the top of the psychedelic pop/rock movement and that is the album that many people expected once again. Going through Tame Impala's past 3 albums; every album has evolved naturally in its sound and genre. In an era where every genre is boundless and mixed, Kevin Parker repeatedly explores those boundaries of pop psychedelic through the instrumentations/production and deeper lyrics. After a few listens, The Slow Rush will win your heart over just like the others did because Kevin Parker is a genius and he will always create the unexpected and inspire the new.