Review Summary: dude weed lmao
A nineteen-year old Milo wakes in a state of complete confusion, an entire side of his face slimy with drool. It's barely noticeable to him, as the latent level of moisture in the air of the young stud's cheap lodgings is roughly equivalent to saliva. These are familiar circumstances, but one thing's different. The time is 7AM, and he hasn't woken at this hour in at least a year. After enough late-night gaming sessions, his sleep cycle has come full-circle. Convenient as this sounds, the reality is just discombobulating to young Milo. What are you supposed to do in all of those hours before noon?
There's an easy answer, and it's not going to class. That ship sailed a semester ago. The answer is to further explore a new hobby that is easy, fun, and seems to have no immediate consequence. Milo wanders into the kitchen, puts a couple blackened butter knives on the stove, fetches a small bag of marijuana, and rips off a pebble-sized clump. Once the knives are hot, the decapitated top half of a 3L bottle of juice is held between teeth, the clump of weed is sandwiched between the knives, the smoke inhaled.
To most people, this series of events would preclude some reflection on their current trajectory, but to a youthful Milo this is the taste of freedom. There are no parents nearby to stop him from being irresponsible on the daily, he is free from the constraints of the draconian property owner that ruled his university halls with an iron fist, and that student loan money just keeps rolling in. Silly as it may sound to the old or uninitiated, these circumstances provide Milo with legitimate reason to not think twice about anything- and he doesn't. After laughing at himself in the mirror for five minutes, he slinks into his room, fires up his PC, and listens to Innerspeaker
at a volume inconsiderate to the conventional sleeping schedules of his neighbours.
The fortunate thing about these albums is that they still retain their charm all these years later. They feel like a celebration of youthful exuberance, and the fuzzed out, character-filled production recollects the days when taking drugs felt like an act of rebellion, of revelation, instead of a surefire way to sidetrack yourself from focusing on things that your mature brain knows will be more conducive to your long-term satisfaction. What is that shi
t anyway? Don't you miss the days where you just didn't fu
cking care? These albums' exploration of these sounds feels unabashed and unapologetic; they're a time capsule to a simpler era, when you were younger, and Tame Impala were still an up-and-coming band to be excited about.
The year is 2015, and Milo is actually working. He hasn't had a decent pair of speakers since his 21st birthday, when an incident that he was eighteen beers and a yardie past witnessing resulted in the death of his amplifier. Milo's financial independence has not been a story of fiscal responsibility, yet somehow he finds himself with a spare bit of cash to spend on speakers. They arrive on his doorstep on a cold winter's day. Naturally, he calls in sick to work and sets them up. Currents
has just dropped. You beauty. Let's get nostalgic.
When "Let It Happen" first enters Milo's ears, production as clean as a chemistry student's $2500 bong, he's in love. It feels new and exciting, it feels like Tame Impala have grown (slightly) alongside him (less so). As the album progresses, the high recedes, but a memory of just how good it felt remains. Impressive as the surgically clean digital audio was to Milo's ears at the time, the album's appeal did not last far beyond this initial tech demo. Repeat visits proved that Currents
was more surface eddy than Gulf Stream.
Kevin Parker's decision to keep his butter knives unblackened and mix clean flows on from Currents
through to his latest release,The Slow Rush
, and it makes plenty of sense. Diminishing returns is a very real concept, and there's no doubting that Parker's predilection for production provides palpable personal payoff. Yet, as much as his production still floors me, and as much as I support Kev's experiments in musical sobriety, a feeling permeates that there's nothing at stake with the current incarnation of Tame Impala. Without the rush of energy that youth and fuzz provide, his breathy vocals and simple melodies are tasked with being the focal point of his music. In the past, as emergent properties, these vocals and melodies felt like inevitable epiphanies within the songs that created them. Pushed to front-and-centre, they feel more exposed in their simplicity, especially when paired with such inane lyrics as “We got a whole year / Fifty-two weeks / Seven days each / Four seasons / One reason / One way...”
The Slow Rush
is a title that projects an idea of slow-burning subtlety, perhaps interspersed with euphoric peaks, yet this projection is naught but a hologram. The Sleek Machine
would be a more apt title- paying homage to the signs of combustion that appear on self-aware rocker “It Might Be Time” or the danceable bassline that drives “Lost In Yesterday”, while acknowledging the vacuous nature of a track like “Glimmer” or the final two minutes of “Posthumous Forgiveness”, either of which I'd thoroughly recommended having an oxygen tank on hand for, lest the room you're occupying suddenly find itself devoid of air. Passivity lives and breathes on this record, making you wonder why songs like “On Track” need to be five minutes long. Even some of the record's more 'out there' moments strike cold, such as the skip-glitched chords that try to introduce some much-needed tension into “Posthumous Forgiveness”, and instead introduce a mild frustration, like a slight headache you just can't shake.
There's still a fix to be had here, but it's kind of like the fix you get from buying weed where it's legal, commodified, and common-place. The initial excitement is long gone, and those that fiend after the substance seem more obviously desperate than they did when law-breaking was a fundamental tenet of the experience. Yet, some individuals will persevere, finding elation in the announcement of Fu
ckshow Deluxe, a new medical strain allegedly so potent that those who ingest it are liable to wake up three days after their inaugural wax dab to sharp rapping on the door, and- jeez- it's the Amazon delivery guy with the sixty-seven packages they ordered while under the spell of the Devil's Lettuce, an experience which they'll hazily recall was, uh, fun? Maybe?
If you find yourself in situations like this often, you're likely familiar with Tame Impala's M.O., along with their position on the pantheon of accessible, quasi-psychedelic pop music with a smooth, laid-back vibe that cheeba cheefers can safely drain doinks to without freaking out. While Tame Impala still occupy that space with aplomb, I find myself yearning to recreate my first few trips, or perhaps just wanting to skip the middle man and get on the skag.