Saturday, December 2, 2023
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Tame Impala – The Slow Rush Review

One of the few albums of this year that I was initially excited for, The Slow Rush slipped by me with stealth-like fashion. Only a few weeks ago did I realise it had in fact released, and it was around that time that I found myself to not be a tremendous fan of Tame Impala. Currents holds within it one singular good song, not good enough for an album that stretches over twelve painfully bland songs and one that has become the equivalent of a parasitic earworm. Five years later and Tame Impala have returned with The Slow Rush, which suffers the exact same problems as their previous release.  

Their blend of psychedelic pop and indie beats has been done better elsewhere, look no further than Ratatat for some incredible examples of that. Incoherent at the best of times, The Slow Rush opens with One More Year, a song that wouldn’t be out of place at a music festival attended solely by bucket hat-wearing droogs, whose style of music is, quite literally, generic indie-pop. That’s very much what Tame Impala are. They have no message or meaning behind their music, no rhyme or reason. Very occasionally, you might hear a song that just so happens to sound good. The beat kicks into a nice sound mixing, which I can’t fault on this album, but the inclusion of some soppy, sour vocals really ruins a lot of the enjoyment. 

I imagine a good chunk of the album would be better enjoyed as background filler. Instant Destiny has some giddy synth notes sprinkled into the final few moments of the song, and it does sound rather enjoyable. Nothing close to experimental or unique, but at least it presents us a few seconds of tolerable music. My money is on Borderline becoming a real hit with wannabe indie kids over the next few years though, it has that mixture of steady yet undeniably good backing track with a heavy slathering of awful lyrics. I guess people are just suckers for bland sentimentality. There’s no depth to the desperation of the dialogue the songs present us, no wry metaphor or anecdote, just a man complaining that he’s sad for twelve songs. 

It’s never good when the best part of an album is the artwork, but The Slow Rush amounts to absolutely nothing whatsoever. There are a few tracks in there that engage on a tolerable level, but it never reaches a point where I was actively enjoying the music. A step down from Currents, which is like picking yourself up after falling over in some mud, only to fall over into another pit of mud immediately after, while a group amasses and awkwardly clap for you as if you did this on purpose. Messy, sloppy, and just a bit repetitive. 

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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