Dylan Jones: 'The Perth band Tame Impala’s music is aweird, if oddly topical, mix of the old and the new'

Share
Related Topics

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 Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe 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"). Which is actually bang on the Impala – they seem adept at layered sonic exploration, the sort that's filtered through sepia gauze, the sort that was big in the late Sixties, coming back in a fairly substantial way in the Nineties, when no one really cared what type of music anyone made anymore.

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 (with some mixing help later from Flaming Lips and MGMT producer Dave Fridmann in upstate New York).

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 (Tame Impala's music is the most modern old music I've ever heard), 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'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Negotiator

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Central London based firm loo...

Recruitment Genius: Events / Conference Operations Manager

£25000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Administrator

£14400 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a multi-d...

Recruitment Genius: Service, Maintenance & Installation Engineers - London

£34000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of Energy Consult...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: I'd champion the young and hold a cabinet meeting on top of Ben Nevis

Bear Grylls
 

i Editor's Letter: The five reasons why I vote

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot