Occasionally – very occasionally, mind – a group's self-awareness is acute. The Pet Shop Boys always had a keen sense of themselves, probably because they didn't become famous until they were approaching their thirties.
Tame Impala hail from Perth, in Western Australia, and perhaps have the distance to know exactly who they are. They describe themselves as a band that makes "steady-flowing psychedelic hypno-groove melodic rock music that emphasises dream-like melody" (music which sits on the edge of ethereal "dream pop").
They formed in 2008, and owe rather a lot to the half century of pop that came before them. And even though they come from Perth, the most isolated city in the world, they appear to have heard most of the good stuff they came in the wake of. "I can't stress enough how insignificant Tame Impala is," said band leader Kevin Parker a few weeks ago. He created Impala's 2010 debut, Innerspeaker, largely by himself – writing, playing and eventually recording himself at a house near Perth.
Tame Impala sound like the Grateful Dead might have sounded if they'd been born in Japan, hired George Harrison as a singer, Burt Bacharach as a songwriter and George Martin as their producer. And then formed a supergroup with Big Star. Oh, and then spent a month in Ibiza with a bunch of Spiritualized and Air CDs.
Miles from civilisation? Well, while their music is a weird, if oddly topical, mix of the old and the new, Innerspeaker's cover is about as zeitgeisty as possible, looking not a little like Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. Self-awareness in excelsis.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'Reuse content