the beginning of many in my year end list: Tame Impala/Lonerism

Rock music, and the idea of it all, exists to test the limits. People have been trying to shock us since four men wore suits. Later they wore makeup and high heels. (Now they tend to dress in flannel and wear beards.) Music exists not only to express the inner most human feeling that we all feel, but to create. It is reinvention. Over and over again. It’s so fun! Because it constantly has us asking, how far is too far? And how do we know if we’ve reached the other side? The honest truth is, we don’t. Hunter Thompson once said, “The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” Although after serious consideration, I think maybe if he had lived to see our new day and age (and Barack Obama) he might have changed his mind. So many things about our world are way off the deep end. It’s reality when it should be fantasy. We went over the edge, maybe a long time ago.  And we have living, documented proof of that. It is this year’s Lonerism.

Soaked in reverb. And bubbling over with psychedelia. Forget seeing colors, you will hear them. This record is more than we ever could’ve asked for: layered vocals, guitar trends, perfect drums and even more perfect harmonies. Tame Impala is (becoming) every man’s band. Almost everywhere you look, Kevin Parker (the brain child of the group) is compared to John Lennon not only in his vocals, but in his guitar methods and construction of songs and album structure.

There are many stand out tracks here. The single “Elephant” is almost like nothing else on the record. The beat isn’t forced, but when you listen to it, the rhythm is forced on your brain. That’s how easy this song is. There IS no escaping it. This piece sounds like it could belong on that strange “independent” record that came after Rubber Soul and before Revolver – the one where those four guys went off their own deep end and went heavy before Black Sabbath would five years later. There are synths and keyboards abound fixated seamlessly around bass lines. Other favorites include “Mind Mischief” that have those Harrison tweaked guitar lines along side “I hope she knows that I’ll love her long/I just don’t know where the hell I belong.” Sound familiar? A constant of confidence while questioning ‘where IS it do we belong?’ (“Now that you know who you are/what do you want to be?”)

“Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” is simple. It sounds like tape looping and all things acid soaked. Marissa Cetin once said  that it “Feels Like I Only Hit Rewind Because This Song Is So Damn Good”. Agreed.

Back in May of 2010, a debut record from an unknown Australian band emerged, Innerspeaker. It took many of us many months to discover (it took myself until December). When Lonerism leaked this summer, I couldn’t wait to get my ears on it. And before, when they announced the name itself, I died a little inside, totally giddy and in love. Instantly falling hard for the new word ‘Lonerism’ and with the cover art, seemingly the ideal image. While topping most year end lists, it finds itself at the start of mine (more to follow). In retrospect, go do yourself a favor and listen to this record.