Innerspeaker, 180G Black Vinyl 2LP
From the Vines to Wolfmother to Jet, recent Aussie rock exports have been painfully indebted to arena rock-- quick to recycle a sound but rarely succeeding in revitalizing it. Perth three-piece Tame Impala play with some of the ingredients of arena rock as well but do so in aid of more leftfield, organic sounds and interesting excursions. The result is a cleanly executed and frequently dazzling debut: Innerspeaker is a psychedelia-heavy outing that toys with paisley pop, stoner vibes, and an expansive array of swirling guitars.
On first listen, Innerspeaker provides a lot of dots to connect: There are patches of late-60s American psychedelia, buzzy Motor City riffage, and decades of British pop, ranging from the pastoral pop of the Kinks to the vivid expansiveness of the Verve to the narcotic warmth of the Stone Roses. Frontman Kevin Parker shares an eerie vocal similarity with John Lennon, both in tone and in the way he allows his voice to soar with each melodic turn or rhythmic surge. Though most of the album is a little restrained lyrically, Parker's rapturous phrasing conveys the meaning. Mixed by Flaming Lips collaborator Dave Fridmann, each component here is set on an even plane, allowing bass lines and delay-swept guitar bursts to melt into one another, cultivating a uniform feel that's vintage, far-out, and irrepressibly cool.
By all accounts, fixing their gaze so intently on established influences should play as either disingenuous or forced. It's difficult to be so plugged-in to a vintage feel without the music seeming time-capsuled, but the band's vibrance help these songs sound very much alive. Tame Impala aren't taking a purely revisionist approach-- you aren't left with a feeling that their intention was recreate some lost Love demo or an Jimi Hendrix Experience deep cut. If anything, their record points to some of the same roads traveled recently by bands like Animal Collective or Liars, but dials back the eccentricities and difficulty level, leaning on the guitar rather than electronics, and focusing their efforts through more traditional pysch-rock prisms. They aren't as adventurous as their more offbeat peers, but because of their lazer-guided hooks and tangible pleasures, they might wind up reaching more people. -Pitchfork (Best New Music)