We attempt creativity but often wind up re-telling the same stories with similar nouns and adjectives. So we get song titles like “Apocalypse Dreams,” the new track from Tame Impala that sounds like it was named after a 70s horror re-make spied during a late night bong rip binge watching the Sci-Fi network. The movie stars Teri Garr. Because it does.
By any conventional logic, Tame Impala should be trite. They are Perth psychedelic rockers who basically ride the middle-ground between Revolver and early Dungen, but add few new wrinkles or ideas to the equation. Even the name of the lead singer, Kevin Parker, sounds like an Aussie knocked out of Wimbledon in the early rounds, who spends the rest of the tournament eating strawberries and cream and hitting on ball girls. That’s not how he seems in actual existence. I interviewed him once for the LA Times and he was a thoughtful narcotically-inclined soul who took his songwriting very seriously.
You can hear that on Tame Impala’s stoned sunset of a six minute single that features “Lucy in the Sky with Diamond” chimes, Parker’s trill Lennon whine, time shifts, guitar fireworks and cavernous drum fills that sound like they were intended to capture the open spaces of their hometown. So basically it sounds like a Tame Impala song.
The thing about a band like Tame Impala is that it’s illogical to want them to do anything besides what they’re doing. As much as I empathized with Parker bemoaning girlfriends mad at him for smoking weed, no one was paying mind for the lyrics nor the originality of the sound. You listen to Tame Impala because they recreate a very particular mood. They are a band best heard under the impression of sun and spliffs, but so are a lot of bands. But there is a clarity to their music –the sort of thing that you can only achieve from tuning out the din and disregarding unsolicited opinions. “Apocalypse Dreams” really boils down to one question asked over and over: “will I ever get there and does it even matter?” Most of the time, it probably doesn’t. In this case, it’s wise to stop bitching and attempting to spy flaws in the design. It’s a pretty trippy ride.
MP3: Tame Impala – “Vital Signs (Midnight Juggernauts Cover)”