It had been five long, grueling years since Australian band Tame Impala released their last album, Currents, so many people in the music realm had been anticipating what would be next for Kevin Parker and co. With Currents being a project that not only gave them crossover appeal with pop fans, but also hip-hop and rap fans, thanks to collaborations with the likes of Travis Scott, SZA and Theophilus London, all eyes were on the band to start 2020. Unfortunately, Tame Impala drowns in their own aesthetic on this project, which is their weakest yet.
I said on social media a couple of weeks ago that none of the singles leading into this album such as “Borderline”, “Posthumous Forgiveness” and “It Might Be Time” just did not resonate with me as much as their previous tracks from earlier projects did, so once The Slow Rush finally dropped, I had little hopes that they would provide a better record than what was teased, which is sad to say because this record had huge promise with its themes revolving around time. There are a lot of interesting routes you can take with that, but outside of the intimate and introspective “Posthumous Forgiveness”, where Parker talks about the estranged relationship with his father, the groove lines on the tracks just don’t match what is being said.
An album about time and reminiscing on the past, should not have disco-inspired instrumentals splattered throughout the project. Some of these moments such as “One More Year”, “Tomorrow’s Dust” and “Is It True” are the equivalent to the Bee Gees recording “Stayin’ Alive”, but only with the downtrodden organ chords from Michael Jackson’s “She’s Out of My Life”.
When it comes to the good of this record, it’s few and far between, but the best moments on here are phenomenal and why I struggle with how this album was as underwhelming as it turned out to be.
“Breathe Deeper” is Tame Impala at their very best. Catchy hook and groovy bass-line that is vintage Tame Impala and it matches the tone of the lyrics. “On Track” takes a slower approach with its psychedelic synths and manipulated vocals from Parker that discuss overcoming hardships and continuing on the path they want in life. I was tepid to “Lost In Yesterday”, but damn, its grooviness is encapsulating. Another incredibly catchy hook about being stuck in the past and missing out on the present.
Outside of those tracks, everything on here is either misplaced or a complete snooze-fest. Half of the tracks on here are over five minutes in length, which I guess is another symbol to the album name, The SLOW Rush, because it sure as hell is slow. Parker’s vocals are more manipulated than ever before and the overarching theme of this project is ruined by Tame Impala trying to go disco. It’s not a terrible album, but one that definitely did not live up to its potential or match the talent that the band possesses.
Richest Tracks: “Posthumous Forgiveness”, “Breathe Deeper”, “On Track”, “Lost In Yesterday”
Worst Tracks: “Tomorrow’s Dust”, “Is It True”