Tame Impala’s “The Slow Rush”— A Review

Interscope Records | Fiction Records

Interscope Records | Fiction Records

Australian psych rocker, Kevin Parker, the only member of Tame Impala has never let expectations hold him back. In 2012, Parker released his supposed opus, Lonerism to recieve instant praise from every corner of the rock world. Expectations were high for the follow-up, and instead of staying with a consistent sound, Tame Impala evolved into something else; the tour de force of modern psychedelic pop. Currents blew every expectation out of the water, and instead of looking behind, Parker moved forward. 

Now five years later, it’s impossible to think we would finally have a follow up to Currents. I mean, where could this sound lead to? The previous album was a perfectionists dream come true! 

This album took five years to finish and was originally supposed to be released last year. However, even after it was originally finished, it seems Kevin Parker still got dragged into his perfectionist impulses. 

The Slow Rush is not Currents; while being similar sonically, there is still a sense of forwardness and a sense of time. 

From the first vocal line of “One More Year” with lyrics like “not worried if I get a good amount of sleep”, and an entire verse marking the flow of time through seasons, days and years, even to the album title itself, it’s obvious this album will deal with the problems Parker faced while making this album and the events that transpired between Currents and The Slow Rush.

“Borderline”, the initial single released last year makes an appearance, although sounding much more developed and complete than its original release. The beautiful “Posthumous Forgiveness” an ode to Parker´s late father shows a rare emotional vulnerability that has never been as present as it is in this song. Although the rest of this album does not show that vulnerability, there is still much to unpack. 

“On Track”, a gorgeous song with shimmering arpeggios, a reverb-laden piano, and flanged drums shine more than anything else on this album. Kevin Parker’s vocals fit so perfectly with this song it’s well-executed and just beautifully made. 

A lot of this album falls short where previous works by Kevin Parker have flourished. Through most of this album, there are two types of songs; progressive, 6-8 minute synth-rock epics and shorter, more pop-friendly bangers. The more pop-friendly songs are breaths of fresh air for the album, while the longer songs seem to get more and more indulged in themselves as they go on for the bulk of their length. 

The biggest problem is that while beat switches and time signature changes are technically very skillfully done on The Slow Rushes, longer songs are almost constantly present in the longer songs, making them more predictable and less unique. It’s a quirk that wears thin after hearing it multiple times throughout different songs. 

Another problem with this album is that Kevin Parker’s vocals are simply underwhelming. While he does not have the most unique voice in music, there is so much more he could do with it. 

Album closer “One More Hour”, a seven-minute rock ballad dealing with the complications of fame, shows Parker willing to move through this life despite the emotional challenges he may face along the way. 

The Slow Rush is a safe album for Tame Impala, taking the time to perfect the soundscapes Kevin Parker created on Currents, this album feels like a baby step in a new direction, and while being incredibly well-produced, there are still boundaries to Parker’s songwriting and performances. Much of this album sounds simply too involved in itself, and that is a product of the lack of variety in song structure. 

The Slow Rush is incredibly well-produced, and being the follow up to Currents, it certainly capitalizes on the popularity of that album, which is not a bad thing at all. It is a satisfying follow up if you as a listener enjoyed the previous album. If Currents is considered a leap of faith, The Slow Rush is the landing. It is hard to successfully produce a piece of art that is just as successful, as well as high quality as the previous; and while not as good, nor as big a jump sonically, The Slow Rush is a good album with glimpses of greatness. 


Rating: 7/10