Two years and six months of bottled anticipation was finally relieved last week when psychedelic rock quintet Tame Impala made their first release since the dreamy, transcendent masterpiece Lonerism. A Wednesday morning tweet revealed Let It Happen, the first single from their forthcoming album.
A defining feature of the sprawling 8-minute-long track is a noticeable lean towards a more electronic, clean-sounding style; which is something we’ve seen many artists attempt in the past year, to varying success.
February saw fellow Oceaniac pysch-rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra release a track from their upcoming LP Multi-Love. Whilst the high-pitched vocals and dreamy melodies on which their reputation was built remain, the minimal guitar, overly dominating synths and muffled lyrics are a departure-too-far from the warm, fuzzy riffs and mellow lo-fi that we learnt to love. Admittedly, they’re yet to play their hand, but what we’ve heard so far doesn’t offer much cause for excitement.
What’s different about Let It Happen is that the increasingly synth-heavy incline of Tame’s previous work makes this electrical-evolution seem a natural progression for the band, and lead singer-songwriter Kevin Parker in particular.
Parker’s recent electronic endeavors are plentiful. His fantastically named disco-funk side-project AAA Aardvark Getdown Services brought a tasty influx of feel-good synth-sounds and boogie-inducing guitar riffs to his portfolio, whilst an unlikely collaboration with Mark Ronson on the other side of the equator birthed the chart-topping LP Uptown Special.
Let It Happen feels far more focused on ‘production’ than Tame’s previous records. What was a whirling concoction of sounds in Innerspeaker, appears more of a concise assemblage of individual instruments in this early glimpse of their yet-to-be-named album. The driving, buoyant pace propels the track, and despite clear differences to past work, it retains their trademark aura – a textured, progressive ‘wall of noise’.
A drawn out press of the looper pedal midway through threatens the worst, but what is initially perplexing gradually evolves into a surging wave of a breakdown that deliciously re-enters verse with signature Impala drums and some surprisingly felicitous auto-tune-esque vocals.
The song ends with a grungy, militant guitar riff; an apt throwback to past killers such as Half Full Glass of Wine & Elephant, and one which serves as a fitting aide-mémoire of their origins as psychedelic rock band.
This is a track that thrusts you away from reality: somewhere between the celestial mystery of a hurtling, intergalactic comet, and the sunshine freedom of an outback desert disco. A song that takes you on such an impassioned, melodic journey makes you wonder what sort of an odyssey the full album will be. As for it’s release? Let it happen, ASAP. 4.5/5