We haven’t had any music reviews show up here in a while, and I’m compelled to share that Lonerism, the new Tame Impala album is probably the best new music I’ve heard all year (with the possible exception of the latest from Beach House). That statement is kind of funny in itself, since there are very few new bands that I bother to check out. Even so, every now and then something sounds good enough to investigate further. I first got into these guys a couple of years ago when their first album Innerspeaker came out, and their follow-up is remarkably great.

These guys are from Perth, Australia, and are hard to pin down with a simple description. “Sunny, melodic psychedelic rock exploring themes of loneliness and isolation” comes close, but you need to hear them yourself to draw your own conclusions.

 


 
Lonerism managed to score a 9.0 on Pitchfork when it came out last month, earning it a rightfully-deserved Best New Music label. One reviewer there memorably said they sound “like someone trapped John Lennon’s vocal take from ‘A Day in the Life’ in a jar and taught it to sing new songs.” In many places, there’s an interesting contrast between the generally upbeat sound of their songs and the serious tone of the lyrics, which gives them a bit more emotional depth than you’d expect.

 


 


 
In my mind, they’re almost what you’d get if you mixed the Flaming Lips with the late-60’s Beatles, and then sprinkled a little Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Boo Radleys on top. But that isn’t even a good description, because they don’t sound like any of those bands. They sound like Take Impala, and that’s all that really matters.

Lonerism itself is one of those albums that’s best appreciated as a whole, lending itself to repeated listening. Everything comes together beautifully, in a way that makes the whole thing seem greater than the sum of its parts.

Their 2010 debut album Innerspeaker is a fantastic introduction to their sound, and equally great – but Lonerism takes it to the next level. You can hear the influences that have pointed them in this direction, but they’re just signposts along the same road. These guys have managed to break new ground in an area ripe for exploration, and the result is a surprisingly great album.

Both Lonerism (2012) and Innerspeaker (2010) are highly recommended.