It has been a long 5 years but Kevin Parker has finally delivered his follow up album to the cross over smash hit Currents. Originally The Slow Rush was planned to be released to coincide with Tame Impala headlining the Coachella Music Festival last April. Tame Impala first dropped the song “Patience” followed by “Borderline” a week later to wet the appetite for the forthcoming LP that spring. Eventually Parker, being the perfectionist that he is, believed the album needed more time to bake in the creative oven. Thus another calendar year would pass us all by. If you were expecting an album closer to Innerspeaker or Lonerism, well you have come to the wrong place. Those days are a thing of the past. Tame Impala’s 4th album is really an extension of the electro-pop that was found on Currents from 2015. Think less of a heavy guitar workload and more big beats/drum patterns. It has been a fun transition witnessing Tame Impala being a guitar driven outfit, to one leaning on heavy synthesizers to finally being an act that features looping drum beats. If I had to summarize this album in one sentence thematically it would be this: Kevin Parker is drunk on nostalgia.
One More Year – A shimmering wave of distorted vocals opens The Slow Rush as Kevin Parker sets the stage for everything to come on this album. The concept of time has become a major theme in Kevin’s life since we last met him. “We’re on a rollercoaster stuck on its loop de loop”. Tame Impala records always have killer opening songs and this one is no different.
Instant Destiny – I can only interpret this song as a marriage proposal to his wife Sophie Lawrence and a lifetime of future bliss. Lyrics of moving to Miami, getting name tattoos and drinking potions made of devotion. Kevin has never been so on point lyrically. “I’m about to do something crazy, no more delayin’”.
Borderline – This is the second incarnation of the song. It was first debuted on Saturday Night Live in March 2019 along with another new song called “Patience”. Later it was released in April 2019 as duel promotion for a headlining Coachella appearance and upcoming album. As we know the album was shelved and Kevin went back to the drawing board on “Borderline” feeling that the song was lacking his intended sonic vision. Kevin beefed up the basslines and made the drums more hard hitting in the mix. Also 30 seconds were shaved off when comparing the 2019 single version to the one found on The Slow Rush. I still wish that “Patience” made the album. That song is just too good to sit without calling an album home.
Posthumous Forgiveness – On the third single from The Slow Rush Kevin wrestles with unresolved issues with his father who passed away back in 2009 from skin cancer. The 6 minute track is really a tale of two cities. On the first half Kevin shares resentment and anger towards his father who died before they could potentially take back any regretful words or actions. “And while you still had time, you had a chance, but you decided to take all your sorrys to the grave.” The second half sees a sonic turn in Kevin embracing the tender moments they did share prior to his parents divorce and how he wishes his father could see the man he has become today. “Wanna tell you ’bout my life, Wanna play you all my songs and hear your voice sing along….”.
Breathe Deeper – One of the album’s biggest bangers. Full of groove filled synthesizers and piano playing that has echoes of last year’s standalone single “Patience”. This track serves as a mantra for Kevin to relax, take it easy and most importantly to breathe deeper. A sure fire highlight off The Slow Rush.
Tomorrow’s Dust – So many of us were enamored with this song the moment we first heard it in The Slow Rush album trailer. The track begins proper with guitar fingerpicking that reminds me of “Jigsaw Falling Into Place” by Radiohead. The concept of time begins to creep back into Kevin’s mind throughout the tune. “There’s no use trying to relate to that older soul, and no use biding your time if the bell is tolled.”. Time keeps marching forward and so does Kevin Parker. At the end of the day, no matter what we do or what we say, everyone is going to end up tomorrow’s dust. No exceptions. Pretty grim when you think about it. Nevertheless it is one of best tracks featured on The Slow Rush.
On Track – This is best described as a Tame Impala power ballad. Despite a long hiatus between Currents and The Slow Rush, KP is letting us know he is exactly on pace for his own life’s timeline. For me this is the “Eventually” of this album.
Lost In Yesterday – A song deeply rooted in thoughts of nostalgia and regret over the outcome of certain life choices. “And you’re gonna have to let it go someday, You’ve been diggin’ it up like Groundhog Day, ‘Cause it might’ve been somethin’, don’t say, Cause it has to be lost in yesterday”. Led by a driving bassline and keyboards, “Lost In Yesterday” is easily one the clearest callbacks from the Currents era.
Is It True – Has the potential to be the biggest banger on the album long term. It checks all the boxes that Kevin loves. Toe tapping drums. Groovy bass. Psychedelic keyboards. Kevin said he spent less than 8 hours composing the song proving that maybe he can deliver products in a shorter timespan than his usual endless studio tinkering. Lyrically Kevin is at war mentally with the thoughts that true love might not last forever and it may be only transient in nature. I wonder how the new Mrs. Parker feels about this one?
It Might Be Time– Heavy on bombastic drums, keyboards and a swirling siren that recalls the Quincy Jones song “Ironside”. Best remembered for being used in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films. Officially the albums 2nd single after “Borderline”. This track wouldn’t feel out of place on a Supertramp record.
Glimmer – The sounds of the historic The Haçienda in Manchester. I wish this song was in the 5-6 minute range because it potentially has so much more to give. The opening keyboard shutter reminds me of the intro to Underworlds’ “Born Slippy .NUXX”. When in doubt…….CRANK THE BASS UP.
One More Hour – Well time is almost up on The Slow Rush. The mission statement Kevin provided in “One More Year” about having one more year, 52 weeks, 7 days each, 4 seasons, is down to its very last hour. Better make it count. “I’m with you and I can roll into another year”. This is the most traditional sounding rock song on the album with huge crashing crescendos during the choruses. I can almost picture this song being played in arenas during the late 70s.