Friday, December 31, 2010

INNERSPEAKER - Tame Impala (2010)

The fascinating thing about Australian power trio Tame Impala's Innerspeaker is that, though composed  entirely of familiar elements (and I mean really familiar, from Kevin Parker's John Lennon doppelganger of a voice, to all manner of the jammier, heavily phased, Dungen-esque psychedelic guitars and flailing, Mitch Mitchell/Keith Moon-like drums), the more one listens to it, the more original it comes to sound.

Most of this springs from the band's unique approach to jam music. 

Innerspeaker is a jam album without solos. 

Rather than spotlighting individual instruments in rotating foregrounded moments, its instrumental components are constantly working in the service of one collective musical vibe.

Parker's vocals, almost always electronically processed, rarely step forward as melodic anchors, and are instead employed mostly for texture and droning forward thrust.  The guitar work, though exciting and highly varied, is disciplined, almost exclusively focused on rhythm, leaving the album's incredibly active drum and bass work, in an inversion of traditional rock 'n' roll roles, free to roam and provide much of this music's color.

And then there's the album's intriguing feathery touch. 

Where near every other psychedelic jam act of recent note (Band Of Skulls, The Dead Weather, The Besnard Lakes, Grinderman) seems determined to explore the absolute depths of "heaviness,"  Innerspeaker, with the possible exception of the bass-dominated track The Bold Arrow Of Time, feels lighter than air, consistently evoking mental images of soaring through the clouds.

It all adds up to one throbbing, shifting pulse of an album that becomes more compelling with each listen, despite disposable lyrics and the lack of any one great song.  I particularly like the flow of  the three song stretch of Desire Be Desire Go, Alter Ego, and Lucidity, but really, once Tame Impala's subtly original approach sinks in, everything on this album works.

It may not be my favorite psychedelic album of 2010, Grinderman II holds that title, but it is the freshest.

Status: Solid Recommend.

Cherry Picker's Best Bets: Desire Be Desire Go, Alter Ego, LucidityJeremy's Storm.

Here's the official video for Lucidity.

Component Breakdown:
1. It Is Not Meant To Be - 7
2. Desire Be Desire Go - 8
3. Alter Ego - 8
4. Lucidity - 8
5. Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind - 7
6. Solitude Is Bliss - 6
7. Jeremy's Storm - 8
8. Expectation - 7
9. The Bold Arrow Of Time - 7
10. Runway, Houses, City, Clouds - 7
11. I Don't Really Mind - 7
Intangibles - High.

Sorry, no amazon listening widget is yet available for Innerspeaker, but you can get a copy by clicking here!

What are your thoughts on Tame Impala's Innerspeaker?  Let readers know with a comment below.

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