When Australian psych rockers Tame Impala burst onto the scene in 2010, it would’ve been a forgivable offense to think they were part of a bandwagon trend. MGMT were riding a wave of success with their own psych-rock success Oracular Spectacular, and pulling a host of soundalikes along with them (even taking Tame Impala out as tourmates). But on their debut album Innerspeaker, bandleader Kevin Parker quickly proved to be a maximalist with more than enough chops to set his group apart from the pack. Songs like “Alter Ego” and “It Is Not Meant To Be” were drenched in reverb and jet engine phase effects, with close-miked drums straight out of The Soft Bulletin. The album was a massive success in Australia, and developed a cult following in the U.S. and Europe.
Their 2012 sophomore effort, Lonerism, was a dazzling triumph, picking up where Innerspeaker left off and journeying off into parts unknown. “Elephant” was a fuzzy blast of melodic Black Sabbath-via-Ty Segall garage rock, and the breathless chanting that opens “Be Above It” gives way to kaleidoscopic synthesizers and breakbeat drums. Everything converges on “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” a sunny slow-paced rocker hiding an insecure heart, and Parker’s voice echoes John Lennon’s tenor more than ever on the soaring, stadium-ready hook. There are many familiar elements on Lonerism, but the record never stoops to pastiche: this is where Kevin Parker established himself as a unique and utterly original creative force.
Tame Impala rolls into Bunbury with a wealth of new material from their upcoming third LP Currents, which will see a July release on Interscope. The electronic hints that pervaded Lonerism now move to the forefront, as on the thumping beat of lead single “Let It Happen.” “Eventually” is cut from the same cloth as the best Lonerism tracks, but “‘Cause I’m a Man” veers off into the realm of lush 80’s power ballads (in a good way) and the short, bouncing “Disciple” sneaks by seemingly before it begins, but digs its irresistible melody into your brain. Perhaps most important to their Bunbury appearance: Tame Impala is a much-vaunted live powerhouse. Many cited their mainstage set as a highlight of this year’s Coachella Music and Arts Festival, and their current tour also takes them to Governor’s Ball, Sasquatch, and Lollapalooza. An hour of riverside psychedelic rock at sunset: what better way to kick off your summer?
Sawyer Point Stage, Friday, June 5, 8:45 PM
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