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Psychedelic Australians Tame Impala, Authors of One of the Best Guitar Records of the Last Decade

Flamboyant guitar pop-rock music has been popular since the Beatles, and many want to build their careers on this sound. However, “shooting” and becoming popular is akin to winning the jackpot in an online casino – it is a matter of chance and luck.

The most popular project among modern representatives of this direction is the Tame Impala group, which perfectly imitates the sound of the late 1960s, but at the same time does not copy other groups, but has its own style and flavor.


Tame Impala is a group of four young, high-heeled, young men; in the studio, it’s actually one person named Kevin Parker – a self-taught producer and child prodigy from the Australian city of Perth.

Parker creates, perhaps, the most infectious guitar music of the past few years: his records sound like a fifty-minute composition “Strawberry Fields Forever”, which is masterfully and imperceptibly mixed with the techniques of dance electronics and hip-hop; as a result, the sound of Tame Impala settles somewhere in the subcortex of the brain, and it is no longer possible to erase it from there. Parker’s two records under the name Tame Impala are eclectic, but strikingly accessible and intelligible guitar psychedelia, equally obligated to The Nazz and Boards of Canada, and therefore equally in demand in the USA, and in England, and even more so in their homeland.


Parker himself comes from the city of Perth – a sunny metropolis that regularly enters the lists of ideal settlements for life and at the same time is the most remote million-plus city on Earth. The temperature in Perth almost never drops below zero, but the nearest settlement is about two and a half thousand kilometers.

Hence the sound of Tame Impala – warm, as if melted by the scorching sun, but melancholic and lonely; hence the theme of their songs, and the title of the second disc. And even the cover: it depicts promenades peeping out from somewhere behind a fence in a marvelous garden (albeit in Paris), performed in a completely Australian scale – a blue-blue sky, a yellow-yellow sun.


Tame Impala is one of those psychedelic bands whose lyrics are clearly added on top of ready-made instrumental parts and are rather auxiliary in nature. However, Parker tries to attach meaning to words, carefully arranges them in melodies and rhymes. This often translates into genuine little masterpieces like “It’s Not Meant to Be”, which opened the band’s first album. “She doesn’t like the friends that I make/Doesn’t make friends for friendship’s sake/She just gets bored sitting by the lake/Her soul won’t surface and her heart won’t ache”, – Parker draws a portrait of an insensitive lover who is able to make him happy one of its kind, but which is unlikely to change its unfavorable character. Actually, this kind of detachment, emotional and sensual vacuum is the leitmotif of all Tame Impala compositions, and their second disc only develops this theme. “Out of this zone, now that I see/I don’t need them and they don’t need me/I guess I’ll go home, try to be sane/Try to pretend, none of it happened” Parker continues on “Why Won’t They Talk to Me?” the best track from Lonerism.

Examples of Their Art

Apocalypse Dreams

The end of the world is a topic that no musician performing in the genre of psychedelic rock has the right to ignore. “Apocalypse Dreams” approaches the theme with Kevin Parker’s characteristic directness and at the same time not without irony: “Nothing ever changes

/No matter how long you do your hair/Looks the same to everyone else/Everything is changing/I guess I should warn my mum/But she’ll just be excited. “Apocalypse Dream” is an LSD trip packed in three minutes, as evidenced by the inconsistency of the narrative of the composition, as well as a series of questions addressed to nowhere in the middle of the song (“Well, am I getting closer?/Will I ever get there?/Does it even matter?/Do I really need it?”). The main source of inspiration for this composition Parker calls the work of the Fleetwood Mac band from the time of the album “Tusk”, but most of all the composition resembles the great Californian psychedelic band Love: with Arthur Lee’s band it is related by a characteristic harmony of light and dark; contemplative prophetic lines with major harmonies, baroque keyboards, and flying rhythm. (“Everything is changing/And there’s nothing I can do/My world is turning pages/While I am just sitting here”), – sings Parker, continuing the poetics of another LSD enthusiast Arthur Lee, who once talked about how he, sitting on a hill, indifferently watches humanity die.


Perhaps the most assertive number of “Lonerism” is a stinging rebuke to posers who try to impersonate someone they are not. (“Well, he feels like an elephant/Shaking his big grey trunk for the hell of it/He knows that you’re dreamin’ about being all over him”). Here again, comes the important theme of friendship for Parker: “He’s got friends but you get the feeling/

That they wouldn’t care too much if he’d just disappear”.”Elephant” does not want to show weakness in anything: “He pulled the mirrors off his Cadillac/Because he doesn’t like it looking like he looks back”. “Elephant” can be considered a key thing for understanding “Lonerism” in general: the album’s only song about an animal seems to directly refer to the fence-corral on the cover, separating the conventional “elephant” from people relaxing in the garden. That is, it is quite possible that Parker, so persistently reflecting on loneliness and alienation, is not so looking for communication – and true freedom seems possible and desired only if you look at it from behind the fence.


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