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Tame Impala: Innerspeaker

by on September 28, 2010


Tame Impala’s first full fledged album really does speak for itself, explicitly and implicitly, as the album title suggests. The psychedelic music front doesn’t seem to be succeeding, off-hand there are few modern psych-bands one can name, but do some digging and you’ll find your treasure; Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker shows that there is no shortage of Psychedelic musicians in the world and that there is an abundance of people who want to be moved by their trippy-ass music.

Tame Impala has had quite a few musicians come and go, as in most bands, with only one member remaining to push the band forward, former drummer-turned lead guitarist and singer, Kevin Parker; add to the equation Jay Watson (drums, backup vocals) and Dominic Simper (Bass Guitar), and you have Tame Impala.

Innerspeaker, when broken down, is a lot of delay, a lot of distortion, and then some voicing. Simple. But who ever said simple was a bad thing?! Not I. In fact, this kind of simple almost seems rare in today’s music world! What makes Innerspeaker so great, however, is that it really uses this technology to its advantage, Tame Impala enhances its sound, forming more complicated song  structures, something hard to do. Ranging from climactic to dream-like, Innerspeaker speaks to many aspects of the Psych-Rock culture, a pleasure to listen to.

How does one determine if what they are listening to is Psychedelic Rock? Well, if you have to question it, it probably isn’t. Psychedelic rock originated or, at least, gained its momentum, in the 1960s. The movement, centralized in the United Kingdom and the U.S., consisted of such bands and artists as Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Janis Joplin, Santana, Pink Floyd, and The Beatles; the most prevalent of the psychedelic-focused festivals being Woodstock, but keep in mind the Isle of Wright Festival in the U.K. holds its own status.

With the advent of new technology the idea of psych-rock has taken on new meaning today, with the ability to create such layers of sounds, bending and twisting what our brain transfers into sound, psych-rock may be a tad different than the sixties. Yet, all psychedelic music is based off of the past, when basic distortion and layering were “advanced”. The Beatles may have given psych-pop culture its best example with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”?! Many people believe the song to contain a hidden meaning, (L)ucy, (S)ky, (D)iamonds, or LSD. However, John Lennon, rest in peace, never admitted that to be factual. Still, that song, and those of its likeness, truly contributed to the rebellion that was psychedelic rock, the mind-changing, existential experience, that could only be achieved by trippy music…and some out-there drugs!

Innerspeaker feels like a mix between Hendrix and The Beatles, rough guitar licks like Hendrix, voice like Lennon, and song arrangement mixed between the two. Innerspeaker is truly a refreshing break from the common “indie” sound of today. Don’t get me wrong, this sound is pretty great, but balance is key, I wouldn’t mind some more variety, and Tame Impala is just what the doctor ordered.

*Gems: “It’s Not Meant to Be”, “Solitude is Bliss”, “Lucidity”

“It’s Not Meant to Be”

“Solitude is Bliss”

– Sonic

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