9.5 / 10
Lonerism is Tame Impala’s second full-length album, the first being 2010’s great, but not quite as close to perfect effort, Innerspeaker. Lonerism was released on October 5th, 2012 on Modular Recordings. Reviews were almost entirely positive, Lonerism even won the coveted Australian J Award (as did Innerspeaker, making them the only band to have won two J Awards). Impressive, huh? Yeah, I don’t know what a J Award is either. Can’t be a bad thing, though.
Tame Impala hasn’t been on the grid for a very long time, therefore most people aren’t privy to their massive talent. However, if their progression continues the way it’s gone so far, by the time their third or fourth LP comes out, there won’t be many who still don’t know their name. In a perfect world, that would be the case right now. Oh how I would love to live in a world where Maroon 5 could be replaced by Tame Impala…
Back to it. Lonerism is high energy, rip-roaring razzamatazz at it’s finest. It’s futuristic bleeps and bloops, fuzzed-out percussion, dense synth keyboard rhythms, and beautifully harmonized, effect-drenched vocal track make for one of the best albums of last year.
The opening track, and one of the best songs on the disc, “Be Above It” smacks you in the face and draws you in like a frog’s tongue might do to an unsuspecting blowfly. It reads like a self-help tape, mainly consisting of the lyrics “I know that I gotta be above it, now” set in a heavy helping of synthesized wonder. Once you hear it, there’s no way you’re turning the album off until it’s through, and there’s a good chance you’re hitting play again just to hear “Be Above It” for the second time. But again, pretty much the whole album follows suit. Brilliant, exciting music in such tight grouping is pretty hard to come by.
One of the singles off the album was the aggressive, blues rock tour de force, “Elephant”. It sounds very close to something that might have appeared on T. Rex’s goliath of an album, The Slider. It’s driving power chord backdrop takes a back seat only to one of the coolest keyboard solos you might ever hear in your lifetime. Oddly enough, front man Kevin Parker has said that “Elephant” is one of the oldest songs in his repertoire and was recorded for the album almost as an afterthought. This makes sense though, given that the tone on the song is the least like any other song on Lonerism. It doesn’t take away from the song, but it’s worth noting.
The only track I didn’t fall in love with on this album is the closer, “Sun’s Coming Up”. It’s Tame Impala’s best impression of The Rolling Stones or possibly The Zombies in their sombre piano mode, a la The Zombies’ “Butcher’s Tale (Western Front 1914)”. While not a bad song, it just kinda leaves the album drop off some kind of strange, morose cliff for no apparent reason. I often think that it wouldn’t have been such a pox on Lonerism if it were placed somewhere in the middle. It’s a minor nitpick that unfortunately keeps the album from a perfect score in my book.
Any fan of 70’s rock would do themselves the highest service by picking this up and adding it to their rotation as soon as possible. I hate gushing about albums, but this one is worth the aggravation. Buy it. Now. Especially because there’s still some summer left and you could put the top down on your convertible while you blast it and stuff.