Review: Tame Impala rehashes old styles to create new sound

Michael Bragg

Editor’s Note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

“Lonerism” is the second studio album of Australian rock band Tame Impala and like the band’s last album “Innerspeaker,” it is not lacking in feel-good inducing psychedelia. 

As the album’s title suggests, the band focused on themes like loneliness and isolation. The music does a good job of reflecting those sentiments by causing listeners to feel as if they are alone in a soundscape of swirling guitars and shimmering synths.

Even with such a lush sound, Tame Impala manages to fill their music with riffs that really stick out. One example is the opening riff of the album’s second track “Endors Toi,” which is masterfully woven into the rest of the song.

Inspired by ambient sounds, frontman and songwriter Kevin Parker carried around a recorder to capture the candid noises around him.

The track “Keep on Lying” features the sounds of conversation at a party which Parker then alters with delay and reverb. Once in the song, the sounds of what may have been a relatively tame gathering turn into the revels of a drug-induced bacchanalian.

Usually, some people are wary about new bands that try to channel old styles in their music. Most music by new psych-rock bands seem to be disparate attempts at revival rather than genuine musical expression.

However, there is something about the music of Tame Impala that finds a balance between originality and authenticity. The band is able to create fresh music and also conjure thoughts of psych-rock greats like Iron Butterfly and Todd Rundgren at the same time.

Where this album falls short is strangely in their distinct style.
It’s almost too distinct and rigid.

It seems as if the band doesn’t allow flexibility within their songwriting, almost to the point that the songs seem formulaic.

The songwriting on this album is great, but as an album there isn’t enough variation of sound. As a whole, the album has the potential to become dull after a few listens. It may be a great album to listen to for a little while, but it won’t be one of my favorites.

The album offers enough to please and not much else, which, when it comes down to it, is just fine. It’s a fun album to listen to regardless of its short-comings, reminiscent of a good day.

And now the question on everyone’s mind: Would this album sound good on drugs?

Of course – but seriously, don’t do drugs.

Would one enjoy it in a more sober state-of-mind?


The album dropped Tuesday through Modular Recordings, the same label responsible for other Aussi bands like Wolfmother and electronic music group The Avalanches.

“Lonerism” is a nice addition to Tame Impala’s small discography and an overall good listen.

Rating: Three out of four stars

Story: CONNOR CHILDERS, A&E Reporter