To be the real deal in Music Land, all you have to do is conquer the synonymous. Whatever word that identifies you from the pack, make it reverberate as your soundscape. Joy Division. Radiohead. The Doors. Air. These aren't just words, this is noise. An electric shock to the system as soon as those syllables leap from your mouth and into the ear. Something time can never fade because wrapped in all those letters are invisible listening pleasures. And if that is the definition of phenom, homegrown band Tame Impala, are reeking of it.
This band needs no introduction. The synonymity has already begun. No longer does the word impala resonate with its dictionary law (a graceful antelope that frequents the African woodland), instead the opposite of tame hits you like a hallucinogenic hot flush and pretty soon synth delirium takes control. With a reaction like this it would seem like the mastermind behind all this psychedelic fuss, Kevin Parker, is after our soul but if you listen closely to his intimate beatings - really it's his own that is surrendered in the making.
These days it's all too easy to fall victim to the celebrity obsessed societal norms. We're in the midst of an epidemic and the dignified are dropping like flies. Survival rate is meek but among the breathing is Mr. Parker. The loner type (self-confessed), that - in a quintessentially Oz manner - can't get enough of Vegemite, avocado ("… And pepper") on toast and - in the same breath - prefers to keep house in Paris, because, quite frankly "it's a bit of a knock-out, you know," he mumbled down the line - half awake, half asleep. By his French clock it was midday but he'd just woken up. Zonked or not, by the time we'd hung up I was thoroughly satisfied fame wasn't flying on his frequency. In this circus of sell outs and illegal downloads - Tame Impala are the supreme absolute truth, the kind you crave in CD form just so you can claim a little piece of their world.
Authenticity flows through every astral wave of the band's existence, "we don’t really like to idolise anyone but we’ve always had a thing for AC/DC. As being like both guys that were really famous but they kept it really real. They kept it real and they kept it the most real for the longest time out of anyone that’s ever gone on to do great things." Keep. It. Real. A phrase you would have thought had become extinct. However actions speak louder than words and last year saw the space dust take a shining to Lonerism like the flames lit up Hendrix's guitar one eve in '67 at the Monterey Festival. Ironically for Tame, 2012 - the year of supposed world doom - ended up being all about the good times, hitting a sequential zenith with their sophomore make awarded 'Album of the Year' by Rolling Stone, NME and Triple J amongst a mass round of applause from strangers, lovers and cultured commentators.
Although "it's always pretty DIY with Tame Impala", this record took a trip through time and space to reconnect with the way it used to be. "Back to basics" Parker said. "Back to the way I've always done it before we ever got a record deal or whatever…" If we'd thought Innerspeaker was a portal into a lost world, then Lonerism is the gateway to a higher being - one without human regimen. "Last time around I had a lot more rules set on myself so this (Lonerism) was just letting a lot of things happen naturally and as crazily as possible." I dared not venture too far into the mechanical so not to spoil the mystic. Some things are better left untouched and his mix of mantra-like ethereality seems better left brief.
What may start as Parker's solitary kindling then blazes into the (mostly) Perthian tribe of instrumentalists we have come to know as the faces that get us high on Tame Impala reverb. If any band can bring on a burst of one-time-only synaesthesia it is them. Riffs floating at you in the brightest colours of the kaleidoscope. This is almost a true story.
Tame mark the beginning of a new league of makers, suffering from a love you can't kiss. Just as antipodean kin Nick Cave was before them (and still is). A type that needs to go insane in the membrane all day and all night long (or at least until the masterpiece is finished): "It's weird. Up until now I've literally always been thinking about making music … But this one wore my brain out so much that I'm kinda happy to just do nothing."
Sweet nothings like "smelling the flowers" and "going back to sleep" are how his time is currently spent until the next spark ignites. But what goes on in the nocturnal mind of one that seems to dream with his eyes open anyway? "Someone gave me a hug around the neck from behind, I suddenly flipped upside down and then I became an upside down person." Dreams of this kind have been said to symbolise the need to put something straight in your real world or that something may be the opposite to what you expect, either way, "it was pretty weird," Parker acknowledged.
Back to reality, the million dollar question is this: do we know if the Tame entity will supersede the hype to continue to shock and awe us - even at forty - with mad cap titles like No Pussy Blues? Nothing can be certain but having rolled doubles in a universe plagued by the 15 minutes of fame, Parker is playing at good odds.
For this moment there could be no better send off than from a man who knew his odds and was a survivor (like Parker), in what he called a generation of swine: "Play it sometime. Crank it all the way up on one of those huge obsolete wire-burning Macintosh amps and eighty custom-built speakers. Then stand back somewhere … Feel the music come up through your tremors … Ho, ho … After that you can always say, for sure, that you once knew what it was like to hear men play rock 'n' roll music." (Hunter S. Thompson, 1986.)