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In 2015, the release of his third album, Currents, saw Australian Kevin Parker shoot from relative obscurity into the mainstream. Though highly regarded by critics for his work on various projects for some time, it was the music released under the ‘Tame Impala’ moniker that made him famous. His home-brewed, synth-heavy, psychedelic rock suddenly hit global, headliner level, demand. Despite this, Parker, ever the perfectionist and obsessive tinkerer, has made his fans wait five long years for album number four, *The Slow Rush*. Indeed, the title is a reference to this as Parker originally intended to release *The Slow Rush* in time for Tame Impala's headline appearance at Coachella last spring. However, he refused to be rushed, and the result more than justifies this. 

Symbolic of an age of meditation apps and mindfulness, much of Tame Impala's work has focused on how we deal with and relate to our own thoughts

As its title might suggest, Parker uses The Slow Rush to explore ideas of time and how we are affected by it. ‘Lost In Yesterday's Daft Punk-style, beachy vocals warn of the dangers of nostalgia (‘Now even though that was a time I hated from day one/ Eventually terrible memories turn into great ones’) while in the reverb-heavy and siren-filled, ‘It Might Be Time’, Parker, now 34 and married, fears he is losing his youthful mojo (‘You ain't as young as you used to be/ It might be time to face it’). ‘Tomorrow's Dust’ mulls on our relationships with our futures, urging us not to dwell on our pasts as ‘the air of today is tomorrow's dust’.

Symbolic of an age of meditation apps and mindfulness, much of Tame Impala's work has focused on how we deal with and relate to our own thoughts (all the way back to the title of debut album Innerspeaker). Parker admits that the confidence he has gained from each album has allowed The Slow Rush to be his most personal yet. Indeed, there is a strong feeling across the album that we are deep inside his psyche. In perhaps the most intimate track on the album, ‘Posthumous Forgiveness’, Parker sings of his troubled relationship with his now dead father. Looking to forgive a man who can no longer explain himself, Parker begins, slow and brooding, with a bass line which gradually intensifies before finally breaking and emerging into a truly ethereal second part in which Parker appears to find the forgiveness he desires. Finishing with a spiky mournful solo in homage to his father's favourite guitarist, Hank B Martin, Parker wishes that his dad could see him now and share in his success: ‘I wanna tell you 'bout the time/ Wanna tell you 'bout my life/ Wanna play you all my songs/ Learn the words, sing along’. 

Parker uses The Slow Rush to explore ideas of time and how we are affected by it

Work on The Slow Rush only really began in late 2018, following a period in which Parker left his home studio in Fremantle WA and travelled to LA to collaborate with a truly intimidating list of its biggest names. Parker's name appeared on collabs with Kanye West, Travis Scott, Mark Ronson and A$AP Rocky, among others, while a cover of New Person, Same Old Mistakes from Currents made it onto Rihanna's latest album ANTI. This time in LA, where much of The Slow Rush was produced, has clearly heavily influenced it, making it easily Tame Impala's most genre-bending yet. There is a pop factory feel to ‘Lost in Yesterday’ and ‘Borderline’, and the sounds of '70s soul and R&B are integral to tracks such as ‘Tomorrow's Dust’ and ‘Breathe Deeper’, while ‘On Track’ sees a Tame Impala play on the power ballad. House music too reveals itself in the rhythmic loops of ‘Glimmer’ and ‘One More Year’. Parker is a drummer at heart, however, and it is his perpetual psychedelic beats which tie together the album. 


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A multi-part album with several multi-part songs, *The Slow Rush* is long, clocking in at 57 minutes. Over its 12 songs there are definitely moments where the album sags, with tracks such as ‘Tomorrow's Dust’ feeling unnecessarily long. It also fails to reach the heights of Tame Impala's catchiest hits such as ‘The Less I Know The Better’ and ‘Elephant’, with no crossover hit worth adding to the pres playlist. Though remastered and improved for the LP, ‘Borderline’, still has a weak chorus in comparison with ‘Patience’, released last year and a far better track, which doesn't make the album. Overall, though, The Slow Rush, marks a highly accomplished return for Tame Impala. Not content to rest on the success of Currents, this album truly breaks new ground, providing a genre-surfing, time-travelling trip through the layers of Kevin Parker's mind.

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