Tame Impala combines alternative and disco

Photo courtesy of Universal Music Australia

Tame Impala invites listeners to put on their skates and hit the roller rink with their fourth studio album “The Slow Rush.” The disco-infused record succinctly represents modern day psychedelic pop in just under an hour. Tame Impala is known for their throwback sound that falls smack dab in the middle of seventies bell-bottom pants and eighties perms. 

This album, which was released on Feb. 14, is no different. This record has taken a step away from rock and a step towards a more disco-heavy sound. “The Slow Rush” is indicative of a simpler time and is maddeningly groovy. It is nearly impossible to not nod along to every song. The production of this album is also impeccable. Kevin Parker, Tame Impala frontman and principal producer, manages to create a Russian doll of layers.

The first single released ahead of the album was “Borderline.” The song was an excellent choice to release as a single, but it was not a good indicator of what the album would sound like. This single still had their signature psychedelic ragtime sound but was more pop than the rest of the record. Another song off the album that lends itself more towards that classic pop sound is “Instant Destiny.” This tune is reminiscent of Tame Impala’s second studio album “Lonersim,” and more specifically the track “Mind Mischief.”

“Posthumous Forgiveness” appears as the fourth track off the album and is the perfect song to follow “Borderline.” Overall, it is a stellar song, but the magic happens in the last two minutes. It is the outro that truly makes the song. The following track, “Breathe Deeper,” is a breath of fresh air and highly emblematic of Tame Impala’s evolving sound. This song moves closer to disco while still paying homage to their kaleidoscopic roots. It is funky and has a groove that is
undeniable.

The second half of the album begins with “On Track” which gives way to a slightly more somber mood. The juxtaposing lyrics are uplifting and optimistic despite how the song is initially set up. “On Track” is musically analogous to the song “Eventually” off their earlier album,
“Currents.”

One of the final tracks off the album “Is it True” features a funky bassline and a sound that is house music meets disco. This track seems completely different than any other Tame Impala song and is another example of them stepping out of their comfort zone.

The penultimate track, “Glimmer,” comes across as a disco interlude. It sounds like something that could play as a transition during a house party DJ set. It is minimal in its components but is still a solid track. 

Even though Tame Impala’s sound continues to evolve, they still manage to release hit after hit. Forget growing with the times, they have a sound that defies time. “The Slow Rush” catapults listeners into the stratosphere of discotheques and big hair while still holding onto a hint of psychedelic pop.