The Slow Rush is a befitting title for Kevin Parker’s fourth album, arriving nearly five years after 2015’s Currents, widely acclaimed by critics and fans alike as the psych project’s best album. It’s also a title that perfectly sums up how long it’s felt to wait for the album. So naturally, the expectations of this follow up album was held tremendously high. Did Parker deliver? Or did he flop? It’s safe to say that The Slow Rush not only builds on the pop/r&b psychedelic sound offered from its predecessor but merges elements of disco and dance into the equation that creates yet another mind-bending experience that only Tame impala could offer.
I should emphasize this in case it wasn’t already known, but nearly almost if not all of the production, songwriting, and instrumentation are handled by Kevin Parker himself. To call him a perfectionist would be an understatement and would most likely explain the long wait in between albums. How he’s able to craft such majestic sounds is a mystery we may never get a solid answer to, but whatever mojo he’s got shines beautifully on The Slow Rush. With each album, Parker seems to take the psychedelic rock aspect he started with and turn it over its head. As stated before, Currents threw in elements of pop and r&b into the mix that resulted in a handful of Parker’s catchiest tunes (“Less I Know the Better”, “Let It Happen”). With The Slow Rush, Parker takes the psychedelic sound onto the dancefloor. Most of the album blends aspects of disco, funk and dance music with certified bops such as “Breathe Deeper”, “Is It True” and the revamped version of 2019’s “Borderline”. All of which would fit perfectly on the dancefloor of a 70’s disco party. Complete with trippy vocal runs and a heavy reliance on drums, keyboards, and synths this time around. The results are some of the lushest and vibrant songs in Tame Impala’s discography. I’d describe this album’s sound as if the Bee Gees and the Beatles dropped acid. deep cuts like “Tomorrow’s Dust” and “On Track”, retain the slow, trippy ballads that Tame Impala has a knack for and would fit perfectly with earlier releases like Innerspeaker or Lonerism.
Lyrically and conceptually, Parker is fixated on the idea of time on The Slow Rush. If Parker was showcasing his self-growth after a heartbreak into a new person on Currents; he’s now taking the time to reflect on the past, present, and future of his new self throughout this new album. He contemplates the harsh reality of getting older and realizing he’s no longer his younger, fun self on “It Might Be Time”. He’s allowing himself to live life to the fullest and to make every second count on the opener “One More Year”, giving himself one more year to revel in his debaucheries before taking things seriously perhaps. Parker looks to the past with “Posthumous Forgiveness” where he reminisces about his late father or “Lost In Yesterday” in which he encourages listeners to embrace the good memories and erase the bad ones. Parker’s hope for the future reigns true throughout the closing track “One More Hour” in which he reminisces about his life up until this point, and the uncertainty of where his life will head in the following years. In a sense, Parker’s idea of time passing feels both nostalgic yet somber. While we reminisce about the good old days and erase the moments that we may deem bad, we’re also fearing the harsh truth of becoming old and losing or forgetting things about ourselves that we might have cherished in our younger lives. Regardless, Parker has found a way to encapsulate this idea of time moving and becoming older in less than an hour, and his result is nothing short of beautiful. While some of his lyrics and wording can be awkward at times, his general message and concept are apparent from the moment Slow Rush starts and ends.
Overall, The Slow Rush is everything that Tame Impala fans could want from a new album. Parker leans more heavily towards a pop/dance sound with this new album while still retaining that psychedelic vibe that Tame Impala has become widely known for by now. Conceptually, this is Parker’s most mature body of work as his lyrics showcase his idealization of time and what it has meant for him in his past, present and future. In the five years it took for The Slow Rush to release, I’m very pleased with the final product and if anything it shows that we should give Kevin Parker as much time as he needs to make music is the end result is as beautiful as this.
Essential Tracks: One More Year, Borderline, Posthumous Forgiveness, Breathe Deeper, Lost In Yesterday, Is It True, It Might Be Time, One More Hour