Tame Impala – Lonerism

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I bought this album based on all the positive reviews I’d read by critics both here in Australia and overseas. And now, after listening to it three times, I have to say, I just don’t get it. A friend sent me a copy of their first cd, and I wound up throwing it in the bin. A document so repetitive and electronically treated it almost drove me to nausea. So when I handed over a small portion of my hard earned money for this, their sophomore effort, I expected to be turned around, blown away to the point of feeling so guilty owing to my premature judgement that I should seek out the local priest and ask for forgiveness. Fortunately that won’t be necessary, at least as far as I’m concerned. Because this is some of the most over-rated unimaginative tripe I’ve heard in a long while (no wonder I never listen to JJJ). So what do we have? “Be Above it” sounds like the Beatles run through a Toshiba laptop. Lead singer Kevin Parker (who plays all the instruments by the way) could certainly win a “sings like John Lennon” competition if he wanted to, replete with Revolver era melodies and all, but the whole thing is just so cyclic and annoying that I just can’t wait for it to end. Likewise the next song, “Endors Toi”: another insipid phased-out computer excursion into the outer regions of nothingness. “Apocalypse Dreams” has a beat that could have been written by any fourteen year old with an ear for basic music. Maybe the lyrics contain some meaning, but with arrangements as primitive as these the mind boggles at what’s coming next. “Mind Mischief” isn’t too bad, to the point where at least the queasiness has subsided. But it still suffers from the same claustrophobic compression most digital music inspires within me. Which to be honest is now giving me a headache. I don’t know about you, but “Music to Walk Home By” is definitely not the sort of music I walk home by, and sounds like Eno done on the cheap. “Why Won’t They Talk to Me” is another nothing to write home about number, awash with the sort of special effects anyone can download off google. “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” could be a John Lennon b-side; however Parker’s penchant for digital treatment is so distracting, it’s hard to concentrate much less even give a toss about what he’s trying to say. “Keep on Lying” isn’t much better; all generic ‘60’s guitar and replica nostalgic rhythms. Jack White released an album called Elephant, but that’s not to be confused with this pastiche of retro-rock. Imagine Lennon jamming with Marc Bolan, with a little Black Sabbath and Deep Purple thrown in for good measure, imitation Hammond organ and all. And now that I think of it, there is a moment in there that reminds me of Pink Floyd’s Money. Is this bloke full of ideas or what? And while we’re on the theme of Pink Floyd, “Nothing That Has Happened So Far…” contains some overdubbed conversation a la Dark Side of the Moon, in the same meter. Overall the song sounds so much like every other song on this album that I’m finding it difficult to distinguish one from the other. The final track, “Sun’s Coming Up”, is probably about the biggest piece of “I can sing like Lennon and be meaningful” piece of affected shit I’ve heard in a while. And although I’m sure there is a message, why not play it on an acoustic guitar, and keep it simple, the way Lennon himself did it, keeping it real, rather than drown the whole thing out with over extraneous and wobbly effects. Oh well. At least the nausea has now dissipated, and I can settle my stomach with some Miles Davis or Neil Young. Which reminds me, where’s my copy of Plastic Ono Band?