If there’s ever going be a muso’s muso it’s gotta be a Prog fan. Whereas you know most bedroom dwellers strain a phase for all it’s worth and eventually discover something that rinses them from it, it’s pretty rare you’ll be able to pull someone in the thrall of psychedelics (and so delayed in their own cerebrum) right back out of it.
Perth’s Tame Impala, you imagine, grew up under the dusty red moon of the Australian sky laid horizontal listening to the psychedelic blues rock of Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience (with maybe some of The Beatles and The Strokes thrown in for good measure). Kevin Parker channels Lennon whilst the band jam cosmic swathes of delay, reverb, and the occasional thrashed fuzz chord. Obviously in thrall to all things tie-dye, I'nnerspeaker' defies falling to the same pit as, say, Wolfmother’s eggyisms by enlisting uber-psych-producer Dave Fridmann and making expansive sounds generally concise - there’s enough idea’s here to make Christopher Nolan think twice, but 'Innerspeaker' rarely meanders.
It’s more akin to the apocalyptical hysterics of Malaki than the hysterical Wolfmother, laconic and digging through crates for reminders rather than riffs. Residing in one of Australia’s most remote cities means the band also dream of far off lands - Ray Davies fog filled London streets, New York’s underground secrets - and so 'Innerspeaker' never truly resides in one influence. Instead the album builds texture from elements of shoegaze, scuzzy concrete rock and Prog’s more epic tendencies.
With a sound that could level forests, ‘Alter Ego’ is Flaming Lips’ first platformer and ‘Expectation’ carves out the first prog masterpiece whilst using three chords. Tendencies to groove just means more and more idea’s spew forth, ‘Why Don’t You Make Up Your Mind?’ slaps about in muddy waters of slide guitar and echoed acid memories before spinning wildly out of control, whilst opener ‘It’s Not Meant To Be’ fly’s desolate truisms into a breaking dawn of acid fried guitar and sun-beaming bass.
If the downfall of modern prog’s been it’s tendency to take itself a little seriously, Tame Impala seem to be having a whale of a time. How else do you explain ‘Runway, Houses, City, Cloud’, a rambunctious rhythmically charged cart trip bouncing cobbles, or ‘Solitude Is Bliss’’ line: “There’s a party in my head, and no ones invited.” That might have been true, but after introducing an album like this into their canon, now there’s sure to be a few more gatecrashers knocking at Tame Impala’s door.