Molecular Musicology: Tame Impala


tame impala


The music of Tame Impala hearkens back to a time long before any of the band’s members were even born. No doubt fermented in the tie-dyed casks of hours spend in Dad’s den or rifling through their high school band teacher’s old LPs, Tame Impala crafts a particularly faithful recreation of the late 1960’s fuzzy psychedelia with just enough forethought to eschew any winks to the modern age. In fact, the production is careful to toss in many of the colorful imperfections that many would argue died with the advent of Pro Tools and Auto-Tune; the mix gets muddy from time to time and the listener must slog through the sloppy soup of crunchy guitars, phasers, reverb, and hissing cymbals to root out exactly what instrument is doing what. This is not a detraction, however, as the effect is engaging and enjoyable, especially on a decent set of cans. Singer Kevin Parker lends another layer of retro-authenticity to the sound with his uncanny vocal mimic of latter-day John Lennon, which is a comparison I’m certain he’s sick of hearing by now.  Further Beatles nostalgia can be found on tracks like “Solitude is Bliss” in which the dry, skipping snare and tumbling drum breaks may have been pulled straight from “Strawberry Fields Forever” and the two-track blend of “Jeremy’s Storm” and “Expectation” recall a more mellow, more groovy take on Led Zeppelin’s “Achilles’ Last Stand”. Toss in the throbbing hot-house distortion of The Kinks on “The Bold Arrow of Time” and you’ve got a fairly comprehensive classic rock tribute that is not just fun for the kids but probably something you could get your dad to listen to with minimal coercion.