In ten years and over the course of a handful of EPs, and as of February 2020 four full-length LPs, Kevin Parker has gone from a skinny stoner from Perth making psychedelic albums at his house to being one of the most sought after collaborators in any genre of music. From collaborations with Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson, to Rihanna covering the band; to producing credits with Travis Scott and a slew of remixes, as well as a full collaborative album with rapper Theophilus London, Parker has become the go-to guy for making things sound old and weird and super funky. His drum sound has become one of those things that everyone from psych bands to hip hop artists love and want.
But really, Kevin just wants to write sad songs.
With 2015s Currents, Kevin Parker took Tame Impala into a newer, more modern direction. The production was cleaned up and it sounded like an album filled with samples; samples of Parker himself. It was this weird cut and paste pop record that felt like it was spliced together with a bevy of production ideas and grand intents. It was a huge success, and opened the door for Parker to do pretty much whatever he wanted. I liked it, but it wasn’t the Tame Impala I fell hard for.
I still feel that Lonerism is one of the best albums released in the last several years. It felt like this perfect mix of stoned indifference and melancholy songs. It showcased Parker’s ability to take the old and set it firmly among the new. His production style was solidified, and his songwriting showed a guy wanting to write eschewed pop songs and do something new to them. Put them through a tie-tyed wringer, splash them with a bit of LSD and sad boy tears and a blown amp speaker. Lonerism was a masterpiece in soulful desperation and pink-hued THC clouds.
Now with The Slow Rush coming out February 14th, 2020, the wait will be over for a new Tame Impala record. It will have been nearly 4 1/2 years since Currents, and with the sound of the two singles Parker released last summer(which only “Borderline” shows up on The Slow Rush), as well as the new single called “It Might Be Time”, it seems Parker is pushing Tame Impala further into pop sheen territory.
What do I think of the song? It’s fine. Bits of Supertramp, early 80s Paul McCartney, mixed with Parker’s boom/bap drums makes for an interesting vibe. His pop tracks still have that fizzy, fuzzy, slightly stoned feel to them which I love. They feel like alternate universe 80s pop songs, back at a time when bands like Supertramp, Toto, The Motels, and Boz Skaggs had huge radio hits. That seems unthinkable nowadays. You know, like adults being on top 40 radio as opposed to 12-year olds like Billy Eyelash, Pose Malone, and Tazer Swift. Grown men and women in the 30s and 40s writing, recording, and performing songs that make it on the radio? Weird.
I like the vibe of “It Might Be Time”. It’s not as sad and pout-y as the last two tracks. I dig sad Parker, but I prefer buzzed and getting over it Parker even more. This is a nice mix of both, with the chorus breakdown getting kind of noisy and weird.
The Slow Rush is out Valentine’s Day, 2020. Of course I’ll buy it. I love Kevin, whether he’s hitting the highs of Lonerism or not. He’s still an absolute genius, still working in his house surrounded by weird instruments, vintage speakers, and maybe even a bong or two.
Check out the video below, and preorder the album here.