Album review: Lonerism

Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

LonerismLonerism is an album filled with doubt and isolation, wrapped in a warm blanket of some of the best Motown-flavoured 1970s psychedelia to come out in recent memory. Take members of the Black Keys and MGMT, give them the lyrical notes from Pink Floyd’s The Wall and let them listen to the Flaming Lips. The result is bound to land somewhere around Lonerism‘s sonic region.

Australian Kevin Parker, the man behind Tame Impala, has been working on this album since 2010’s Innerspeaker, the band’s first album. As the lead writer, vocalist and musician, he put together the album bits he recorded from around the world, taking a much more relaxed approach to the project.

The majority of the songs meld together with flowing soundscapes over percussion that often rampages through, though sometimes is relegated to the background.

Opening track, “Be Above It,” builds out of nothing to burst forth with the drums running the show and a dreamy melody playing catch-up. With self-affirming lyrics, Parker sounds like he’s offering the listener Lonerism, while trying to shut out the worry about the criticisms.

From there he delves into uncertainty in love and life, using the warm guitar and synth sounds to soften the anger in the percussion.

Highlights include “Apocalypse Dreams,” a grimy opus that could have been a late Beatles track if Lennon had lost confidence and “Elephant,” a crunchy, bluesy track straight out of the Black Keys book.

Overall, Lonerism brings some of the vitality that rock music has been lacking lately. Despite landing in psychedelic areas, it has a rawness to it that the music industry saw in Vancouver’s Japandroids. This is good news for fans looking forward to less mechanically-produced rock and something a little more human, filled with feeling and thought.

Released in October 2012, the album has been a slow-burning success, finishing on many prominent “Best of 2012” countdowns in England, Australia and North America, including number one on English magazine New Music Express‘s list.