Tame Impala returns with the ‘The Slow Rush’

Illustration+by+Melissa+Joseph+

Illustration by Melissa Joseph

“Has it really been that long?” frontman Kevin Parker asks, a question that seemed to echo the thoughts of fans everywhere who, although eager for Tame Impala’s return, were still enamored by the beloved “Currents,” Tame Impala’s 2015 album. Following up an album as big as “Currents” seemed impossible. It was the album that took the group from Australia’s underground psychedelic rock scene to selling out stadiums.

When Tame Impala dropped “Patience” — their first single in four years — back in March of 2019, it hinted at what “The Slow Rush” would eventually delve into thematically: time. “Patience” was our first glimpse into the true auteurism of Parker. 

After “Currents” plunged the musician into the world of festival-headlining stardom, Parker took a moment to reflect. Though, the single didn’t make the cut, what we are left with on “The Slow Rush” is an intimate look into the moments of Parker’s life that have led him to where he is now. 

If we look at “Currents” as Parker’s breakup album, then “The Slow Rush” is him five years later, newly married and settling into his life. “The Slow Rush” is an album for lovers everywhere. 

“One More Year” is a brilliant opener to the album, perfectly setting up the themes of time and reflection. Anchored by an instrumental that was actually created by Parker repeating the song’s title, he sings about being stuck in “a loop-de-loop.” 

“I never wanted any other way to spend our lives / I know we promised we’d be doing this ‘til we die / And now I fear we might,” Parker sings.

The album taps into late ‘70s disco with “Borderline,” recreating the dancefloor sounds with studio technology. At times, it calls back to the ‘60s sounds that Parker was so heavily influenced by on previous works. 

“The Slow Rush” shares many of the qualities that made “Currents” great — killer basslines, groovy rhythms and gorgeous vocals from Parker. Unfortunately, it plays it a little too safe. Rather than expanding on those sounds, “The Slow Rush” seems to just coast with them. 

The album as a whole creates an undeniable mood and perhaps that is what Parker was trying to achieve, but ultimately none of the tracks are strong enough to stand on their own. The melodies are certainly catchy, but they never quite reach the threshold of euphoria that they had in their prime. 

Kati Morris can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @neutralsoymlk.