Tame Impala: Innerspeaker Review
My first experience with Tame Impala came from the world beat done by Kasabian track “Solitude is Bliss,” which didn’t really set me up for a conversation I had with someone I know about the band. They raved about how great the band are and their old school garage rock sound, which I didn’t quite understand. First of all, I thought “Solitude is Bliss” was solid, but not spectacular. Secondly, I didn’t get the garage rock vibe from the track, so I assumed we were probably talking about a different band. After hearing the groups entire (excellent) debut album Innerspeaker, I have come around to both points.
The garage rock referenced is less The Sonics and more Revolver era Beatles. The tracks have layers, but they are deceptively simple. The guitars are fuzzy, but the chords sound familiar and warm. The recording doesn’t sound over produced, but still contains that whirling, mind melting experience that only the best psychedelic rock records actually capture. Unlike bands like Dungen, the psychedelic of Tame Impala is less the burnt out, scared remains of a fried acid head, but more the warm and fuzzy trip of a journey through space. I usually pull out a handful of tracks as ones that are highlights on the record, but I honestly like the whole record and would be remiss to say one deserves highlighting more than another. The songs are strong as stand alone documents but also serve strongly as a cohesive and engaging album.
The sign to me that Tame Impala are the real deal, and not a copy cat band riding high on the artist ideals or forgone generations, is the authenticity of their sound. That doesn’t mean they sound exactly like Cream or some other late 60’s, pot smoking, paisley wearing band. It means that I am convinced if you took an in-tune music fan who enjoys late 60’s psychedelic rock and roll and put Innerspeaker on the turntable, they would be convinced it was a lost classic from the genres heyday. Not a bunch of art school kids making a pastiche (we’re looking at you MGMT), but the real deal. Innerspeaker is one of those great albums that neatly steals from (and builds on) the past, but clearly leaves their footprints. No matter who they sound like or what musical references they touch on, the thing that ultimetly makes Innerspeaker so great is that I am drawn in for the whole record, and when it is finished, I want to start it back over again.
Catch Tame Impala at the Turf Club this Saturday, June 19th, with local openers Haunted House and Dante and the Lobster, for what should be an amazing show.