The Slow Rush
2020 – Psychedelic / Rock
INTERSCOPE / FICTION
The Slow Rush is a set of songs that do not go beyond its objectives and that have stagnated in the pattern already obtained
For Kevin Parker, psychedelic instruments that demonstrate the greatest truths of the soul have always been the best way to demonstrate emotions that we don’t even understand. While Lonerism, Tame Impala’s most acclaimed album that was released in 2010, made us all feel small near the grandeur of the extraterrestrial sound that had been brilliantly performed; Currents, released in 2015, seemed to mask sadness with technological synthesizers that felt like layers of feelings. And even though both albums are extremely good, in a way it’s undeniable that Currents ended up being inferior to Kevin’s previous album. Now, in 2020, Kevin Parker returned with his new album: The Slow Rush, which ended up proving the curse that Tame Impala is suffering: The Drop in Quality.
At the beginning, the album was already suffering with problems. After releasing the singles “Patience” and “Borderline” in March and April 2019 – which received numerous accolades – the album’s release was postponed. Months later, Parker revealed via video the name and date of the album, and moments later, in an interview with Annie Mac, revealed that he had made changes to the singles that had already been released. As much as this chain of suspense created more speculation about the album, it blew negative winds, making some people think that Kevin wasn’t ready or he wasn’t absolutely sure about the album’s content, and some even thought it was all a tactic of release: saying that the album was ready when it wasn’t, just to attract more audiences. But finally, we have the new album in hand and, as already mentioned, it is inferior to your old albums and, even with some good tracks, it is quite disappointing.
But it is undeniable that, in all situations, Parker always proves to be a perfectionist with his lyrics, sounds and arrangements, even though he sometimes makes mistakes. In The Slow Rush, your perfectionism is focused on time. The lyrics transcribe the past, present and future, its problems and positive mentions, its moments of glory and its darkest moments. Looking at it in a macro way, we can say that this album is a great cohesive set that pieces that talk to each other. However, there are times when this album becomes extremely cohesive, having few rare moments that cause excitement or dazzle by the sound or the lyrics since all the tracks sound almost the same all the time. And even with the mix of pop music with Experimental, Psychedelic, Indie and Disco, Parker managed to make everything work very well and harmoniously, making sure there were no gaps, in which we would have more exciting and intriguing sounds throughout the album. I say without a problem that Kevin crossed the line in terms of making the album cohesive and reached the negative point where everything sounds the same, or at least, where the moments of excitement end up becoming very isolated. And just to make it clear, the instruments are not bad, in reality, they are very good and creative, but they always seem to maintain the same level, there are no moments when they are more or less intriguing.
And I think that all this problem with regard to the lack of latency, variation and nuance in the instruments makes the album seem longer than it already is. Usually, when we have tracks that have isolated peaks of super curious instruments, we anchor ourselves for that. In this album, the fact that this type of sound is present all the time makes the whole album go more slowly than it already is. But like everything, there are exceptions, where even with little creative variation in sound, the tracks ended up sounding very good. Like for example the first track on the album: “One More Year”, where Kevin shows his opinion about the time – “We’re on a rollercoaster stuck on its loop-de-loop / ‘Cause what we did one day on a whim” – and demonstrates an adolescent feeling about living life to the fullest – “One more year / Of livin ‘like the free spirit I wanna be”. Despite this track using what Kevin calls “Gregorian Robot Choir”, the lyrics end up being kind of mediocre and having some silly moments like “We got a whole year (One more year) / Fifty-two weeks / Seven days each”.
The second track on the album, “Instant Destiny”, turns out to be very good too. The track has a little bit of progression, the chorus is kind of catchy and even reminiscent of your previous project, Currents, but it has the same problem: the music doesn’t go far beyond a mediocre lyrics that talks about living life to the max and being testimony about his marriage proposal to his wife. “Posthumous Forgiveness” is one of the best on this album. Looking from a macro perspective, the song talks about the relationship between Kevin and his father: in the first part he talks about how he was repelled by some of his father’s attitudes next to a shy guitar that seems to mix a little terror with a tone of irony; in the second half, after a change of beat to something more based on sober beats and some string chords, he talks about missing his father and wanting to share his life with him. This track has several very heavy lines like: “To save all of us, you told us both to trust / But now I know you only saved yourself” and “I wanna tell you ’bout the time / Wanna tell you’ bout my life / Wanna play you all my songs”.
“On Track” ended up being another track that I ended up enjoying a lot. While it speaks positively about advancing in time and moving on, the instruments are contrasted from a syrup piano to a beat that mixes sounds from church organs with a more animated keyboard and synthesizers that make noisy noises. “Lost In Yesterday” appears to have been recorded in the midst of a spaceship battle: synthesizers shoot brilliant lasers in the midst of matte batteries and shy strings. The track that basically talks about forgetting the problems that were in the past. “Is It True” sounds sexier and funkier when talking about people who are afraid to fall in love because of their anxiety about the future. I think the best part of the track, without a doubt, is the chorus, which despite not being super formulated, is very captivating, both the part of “Is it true? Is it true? Tell me now” and the instrumental solo.
The other tracks were the ones I didn’t like the least. “Borderline” starts very well with this experimental-disco pop record talking about immersing yourself in something new. The track has several very positive points like the instrumental itself and the track that ends up being a little catchy, but it lasts much longer than it should. “Breathe Deeper” follows the same path, but taken to the extreme since it seems that Parker did everything to make the track as long as possible. The track already sounds quite dull because it has only one different moment, which ends up being at the end and it’s no big deal either, and the lyrics sound very repetitive and do not have such a deep message. “Tomorrow’s Dust” has a more acoustic feel based on a guitar for almost the entire track and talks about how the days go by – it didn’t really catch my attention. I think the strongest point of the track is how there are times when some instruments seem to be dancing around our heads and some more obscure synthesizers here and there. “It Might Be Time” has a very interesting effect on Kevin’s voice and an amateur drum beat, but the excessive repetition of the lyrics ended up making me sick. “Glimmer” is a practically all instrumental track that is not nearly as impressive.
“One More Hour” deserves special attention. She is one of the most important tracks on the album since she closes the album, and I can say that Parker ended up getting it right with it. From a distance, one of the tracks that has more progression: it starts with a high key and involves something more powerful and grand in the chorus: the instruments seem to have come from afar and when they reach our heads, they go around it. We have thick and heavy synths, guitar solos and even weak pianos. The lyrics are very well constructed and structured, it is not repetitive or simple. In fact, it is a very good track to close an album.
In the end, The Slow Rush is not bad. In fact, there are a lot of good tracks, especially in the production area. Without a doubt the biggest problem was the fact that some songs don’t have a climax or an exciting moment – something that ended up missing from the album too. Better definition? a set of tracks that take more risks and a set of tracks that remain at the same level of creativity for fear of going beyond. The lyrics are also not those things most of the time and at times they seem pretty silly. Honestly, I don’t see myself listening to this whole album again, maybe some isolated tracks.