The five year wait is almost over.
This time Friday, you’ll be headphones-deep in Tame Impala’s fourth album, The Slow Rush. Though Kevin Parker had originally hoped to release the new record before headlining Coachella last year, he recently confessed that work on the album didn’t really begin in earnest until the second half of 2018. Regardless of who did what when, ever since news of its existence surfaced, every woman and their cat has been anxiously pondering what The Slow Rush will sound like and if it’ll live up to the hype. Honestly, I don’t know how Kev handles all the pressure. I felt more nervous pressing play on this puppy than I did when I reversed through a major intersection at the beginning of my driver’s test. Alas, my worries were wasted. This album absolutely bangs.
First, some general admin. You’ll find 12 tracks on the new record, spanning a run time of around 57 minutes. Of those 12 tracks, you’ll recognise four—‘Borderline’, ‘Posthumous Forgiveness’, ‘Lost in Yesterday’ and ‘It Might Be Time’. Surprisingly, last year’s huge single ‘Patience’ has been left off the tracklist, but honestly, you don’t even miss it.
Of the remaining eight unheard new songs, album opener ‘One More Year’ is, to me, the absolute standout of the entire album. Holy shit, what an introduction. Kicking off with a glitchy cyborg vocal before exploding into a bonafide dancefloor classic, it’s kind of like the gateway drug to the rest of the record. Anyway, straight off the bat, one thing’s clear—psych rock is out, and Euro disco is IN.
By the end of the first song, I’m already convinced this record is better than Currents. Sure, I’m also convinced I’m on a speedboat somewhere in the Mediterranean with a cool version of U2, but it’s impossible not to be impressed by this slick new pop-infused sound. OG fans fear not, though, because at its core, The Slow Rush still sounds like a Tame Impala record. It’s just another leap forward in Parker’s endless sound evolution.
An ode to the magic and mundanity of time and its slow and speedy passing, The Slow Rush feels markedly more intimate and personal than anything Parker’s ever put his name on. On ‘Posthumous Forgiveness’, he sings to his dad (who passed away in 2009), ‘Wanna tell you about the time I was in Abbey Road / Or the time that I had Mick Jagger on the phone / I thought of you when he spoke’, and the words feel strangely human for a Tame Impala track. It’s also clear throughout The Slow Rush that Parker has invested a lot of time mastering one instrument in particular, and that’s his own voice. Layered vocal effects aside, dude can actually sing.
Obviously, the production on the entire record is insane. No one would expect less from the best in the biz. It’s also obvious that he’s learnt a lot from collaborating with other artists like A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott and Mark Ronson over the last few years. Kev’s love of hip hop is loud and clear on this record—but so too is his adoration of funk, soul, rock, pop, psych, and just about every other genre you can whack a label on and sell as jam.
‘Whatever I’ve done, I did it for love, I did for fun…’, Kev sings on album closer, ‘One More Hour’, a stadium rock style anthem that Queen’d be proud of. It’s the kind of song that’d sound cheesy if literally any other artist in the world recorded it, but somehow, Tame Impala make it cool. It’s seriously some kind of superpower. Anyway, it’s an epic end to an epic hour-long journey through sound and space, and listening to it is the only date you should be planning this Friday, February 14. Happy Kevintine’s Day!