The first time I sat down to listen to Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker, I was surprised twice. Early buzz around the band pinned them as an electronic-leaning rock band from Australia – a current hotspot of indie dance music. Tame Impala’s sound could not be further from what I expected. They are very clearly a psychedelic rock band, a genre I don’t often find myself enjoying. Once I established that I was surprised once more to find I was listening to the album over and over again.
The three-piece outfit from Perth is clearly influenced heavily by 60’s psychedelia, but it is equally clear that is not their only influence. Blues and pop both have a clear hold on Innerspeaker. Their sound does not come off as if they recorded this album several decades ago, a feat many bands today strive to achieve. Instead, they created something enjoyable today without any knowledge of the music that was so influential to this album. “Solitude is Bliss” is the best example from the album of this. It’s an immediate, catchy track that exemplifies their sound without watering it down. Powerful and memorable guitars and singing that captures the melody.
Innerspeaker is a meandering album. It covers a lot of ground in its hour runtime and is best when listened to all at once. The songs, most of them excellent on their own, drift into one another creating a somewhat surreal, fluid experience. The only times the album falters is when it fails to keep the flow of the album moving smoothly. “The Bold Arrow of Time,” a great track based on a powerful blues riff, is a sharp shift from the quick-paced and upbeat “Expectation” that detracts from the album as a whole.
The percussion is the glue that holds the album together. Drummer Jay Watson is able to consistently craft interesting patterns characterized by frequent, stuttering fills. Although the drumming will shift several to many times in each track, the style remains consistent and engaging throughout Innerspeaker.
Tame Impala succeeded in arriving to the world with a fully-fledged sound and a concise and enjoyable debut album. Innerspeaker is a record full of warm sounds and it rarely gets boring. Perfect for the summer, with enough complexity to earn listens through winter.
81 — [Rating Scale]
Download: “Solitude Is Bliss”