Friday, February 28, 2020

Bland practice

Hats off to Cal Cashin for writing a review of The Slow Rush that, for me, encapsulates everything that's gone wrong with Kevin Parker and Tame Impala.

It starts off with a real sting: "Notoriously, Parker is one of those musicians that spends literal years labouring over fine details to ensure everything is the best it can be. He rigorously considers every single drum sound, piano loop, and vocal texture, and pours unimaginable quantities of energy into the signature Tame Impala sound. Parker is clearly a talented producer, and has shown in the past that his musical graft often reaps satisfying melodies. It is this perfectionism that defines 2015's smooth-but-insubstantial Currents, and new LP The Slow Rush is certainly cut from the same cloth. So that begs the question: if Parker is such a perfectionist, how come all of his songs are fucking terrible?" Zing, ouch etc etc.

It's a hyperbolic statement, of course - Cashin is, like me, clearly a fan of the first two records, Innerspeaker and Lonerism. What he is recoiling at is the direction in which Parker has taken the band since then - a move kicked off by Currents and consolidated by The Slow Rush. That today's Tame Impala play dull, "genreless vibe music" hamstrung by terrible lyrics is all the more frustrating in light of the band that they once were and indeed could have become. Critical assessments don't come much more damning than "There's a whole lot of nothing", but I'm afraid that the cap fits.

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