Building upon their 60s psychedelia-infused 2010 debut album “Innerspeaker”, Tame Impala’s sophomore album is a shining example of making that all-difficult second record a successful venture. Tame Impala is the glorified alias for Australian multi-instrumentalist and producer Kevin Parker. Lonerism, as its title suggests is an exploration of introspect and isolation within Parker’s life at the time. Respectively, these themes form an engaging contrast against the bright sun-kissed instrumentation and poppy undertones.
Parker’s admiration for pop music grew whilst writing this album. The result of this incorporation is a more audibly accessible record than their debut. “Music to Walk Home By” is an active demonstration of Parker’s fascination with pop melodies, laden with glistening synths and sunny guitar chords. The ethereal and trippy sounds are interwoven into the sound like their debut; in fact the majority of the album is constructed from airy instrumental pieces partnered with Parker’s breezy, intimate falsettos.
Lonerism is flush with melancholy yet Parker manages to transform melancholic lyrics into sing-a-long choruses in tracks such as “Why Won’t They Talk to Me?” and “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”. “Elephant” hits the listener with a gargantuan fuzzed-up riff, similar in tone to “The Bold Arrow of Time” from their debut in terms of bluesy tones, chugging riffs and laid-back beats. The album doesn’t go without its indulgent moments, whether it be the progressive guitar-noodling in “Keep on Lying” or the barrage of synths and sound effects in “Nothing That Has Happened”. Closer “Sun’s Coming Up” begins with intimate traditional piano before transposing to an ambient instrumental that pleasantly brings the album to a close.
Parker expressed a growing exhaustion of experimenting with guitar sounds and ultimately paved the way for his extensive use of synth and piano/keyboard-based sounds in Lonerism and to a further extent, follow-up album Currents. Tame Impala’s discography can be seen as a perfect natural progression through instrumentation and musical styles, with each successive album growing stronger in presence and musical substance.
Favourite track: Elephant // Least favourite track: Music to Walk Home By