Thursday, May 27, 2010

On Repeat: Tame Impala - Alter Ego

Perth-based Tame Impala have been the recipients of a generous amount of buzz in recent months on the heels of their 2008 EP and forthcoming LP Innerspeaker. Blog behemoths larger than myself (if you can IMAGINE) have stamped their seal of approval on their debut single "Solitude is Bliss" and its awesomely apocalyptic video. Myself, I prefer the melodic density of Alter Ego (below).

Perhaps mis characterized as psych-rock, the song opens with a pretty standard rolling guitar part that gets swept into a heady whirlwind of drums and spacey effects. They delicately toe the jam-band line for the first minute or so, nearly indistinguishable from Phish, et al before Kevin Parker's vocals echo into the frame and the Phish similarities end and late-era Beatles similarities begin. To my ear, Parker sounds exactly like John Lennon. And when I say exactly I mean I had to check my Zune to make sure I didn't shuffle to a Beatles B-side. There's an interesting complexity at work on Alter Ego, all the more impressive considering the band has but three members.

Parker's verses carry the song from melody to melody, bridging the energetic drum spurts and hurried bassline. Backing vocals push the song even further into Beatles territory, giving the major chorus of "...when the one from my dreams, is sitting right next to me.....and I don't know what to do" a warmth and depth that the Beatles were masters of in every iteration. Despite obtuse lyrics or other distractions, there was always a welcoming core to every song. Alter Ego taps into this phenomenon. Vague words, squiggly effects but decidedly more than the sum of its parts.

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