Saturday, 12 June 2010

Album Review: Tame Impala - Innerspeaker [2010, Modular]

You know what? I really disliked Tame Impala's 2008 debut EP. Other than the opening track, “Desire Be, Desire Go”, I didn't feel much inclined to what seemed derivative wankery. I wasn't convinced, instead, I was bored. At the time, I thought Tame Impala would be more suited to domesticating african antelopes rather than subjecting the public to Wolfmother 2.0.

Well, put the fish in the kettle, things have changed. Innerspeaker is so accomplished that even our musical overlords felt kind enough to give it a review that didn't feature a monkey urinating into its own mouth. What has changed? Well, the songs got better.

I can't really fault the record. In particular, "Alter Ego" is a bollucking journey through psychedelia-land that makes me feel like driving out west, over the Great Dividing Range and finding a field to dance around in. It is the first song in a triad of consecutive greatness. "Lucidity" shows us all the things that Wolfmother seemingly can't do, playing music without their heads getting stuck up their own arses. "Make Up Your Mind" is hypnotic while instrumental track "Jeremy's Storm" is determined, much like the storm it is allegedly named after. The jewel in the crown comes near the end, "Expectations" with its great chorus phrasing shows us that the land of the flange has finally reopened. Maybe my poor flange pedal can finally show its face around town now that Tame Impala have made it socially acceptable again.

Much of Innerspeaker's appeal lies in the way it’s recorded. Deliberately lower fidelity and flatter than the usual 'slickness' that comes out of modern day recording studios, makes this record a lot more interesting than a lot of the stuff that gets shoved on the airways these days. It’s very listenable, much more so than their previous EP. Some have criticised the record for being so deliberately derivative that it may lead to questions over the band's ability to sustain their current appeal. I think this 'derivative' assessment a bit harsh. How can any band hope to escape the weight of their influences? I believe a better approach is to appreciate Innerspeaker for what it is, and that is, a great debut record.

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