Tame Impala’s “The Slow Rush” is More Refined Than Ever

Tame Impala in concert. Photo by Chelsea Lauren/REX/Shutterstock (5848575ah)

To define The Slow Rush by genre would be a dubious enterprise. The fun, disco elements that polarized audiences in Currents remain prominent only the disco dips into something a little more progressive. There are nods to acid house and a fusion of pop that spans across the decades. What ties the album together is not a genre, but the feeling that great pride has been taken in making the album. It’s rich in detail and each tune holds its own. With many groups contracted to pump out an album a year, the care that Kevin Parker has taken to issue perfection is refreshing.

Parker has previously said in interviews that he needs to feel troubled to create music. Currents was powered by his breakup and The Slow Rush follows his quest to tap into this part of himself following his recent marriage. The result is some of Parker’s most profound lyrics yet.

“Posthumous Forgiveness” deals with the death of Parker’s father. Parker navigates the song through his childlike self who once looked up to his father as a hero. He sings:

“wanna tell you ’bout the time
(I was) I was in Abbey Road
(Or the) or the time that I had
(I had) Mick Jagger on the phone
I thought of you when we spoke
Wanna tell you ’bout the time
Wanna tell you ’bout my life
Wanna play you all my songs
Hear your voice sing along.”

There’s poignant poetry to the lyrics and yet the bending synths and disco-tech tropes allow the listener to keep some much-needed distance from a song that dares to be so personal. This is Parker at his finest as a lyricist.

The mid-section of the album is a little gloomier and yet in “Lost In Yesterday” we get a glimpse of the band that wrote the catchy riff of “Elephants.” The rhythm is compelling, the synths are upbeat, and the song stays in your head after it has finished. What we are seeing is a band that continues to explore different corners of the human experience and play with different sounds and genres to convey these experiences.

“One More Hour” is the album closer and the longest track on the album. It’s an anthem for true love and not losing yourself in the process. Parker sings: “All these people said we wouldn’t last a minute, dear / I’m with you and I can roll into another year.” The instrumental section is longer, progressive, and a striking end to what might be one of Tame Impala’s finest albums yet.

Tame Impala’s first album in five years is beautifully crafted and more refined than ever.