In 2021 Damon Albarn released a very good solo album, blur has recently announced live shows so a new Gorillaz album was next on the to do list. Working with all star producer Greg Kurstin, the clubby synth stabs of the title track announce the beginning of the journey along with Thundercat. This is quickly followed up with one of the album highlights, the Stevie Nicks collaboration of “Oil”. Albarn’s treated vocals are underpinned with the deeper Nicks. A strident beat delivers the line, “individual actions change the world/fill them up with love”.
Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker along with Bootie Brown bring a classic Gorillaz sound to “New Gold” before Albarn takes over on the underwater dreaminess of “Tarantula”. Where Cracker Island lags is on a couple midtempo tracks. An acoustic introduction is teased on “Skinny Ape” before it gets replaced by blips and bloops. An acoustic track would have been a welcome respite from the processed beats. Cracker Island leaves the listener with a few good tracks and other missed opportunities.
When preparing to review The Slow Rush, the latest album from Tame Impala, I was surprised to discover that this is their fourth album and I own all of them! Listening habits indicate that I’ve liked them all but rarely go back to listen. Thus The Slow Rush is the first album from Australian Kevin Parker that I’ve ever done a true deep dive into.
With it’s altered vocals and dance beat, lead track “One More Year” could be Daft Punk before “Instant Destiny” tells of Parker proposing to his wife while riding a solid groove. “It Might Be Time” features 70s pianos/synths with a menacing siren suddenly appearing, it’s Supertramp meets The Bomb Squad. While the lyrics on a few tracks are too on the nose, such as third single “Posthumous Forgiveness”, others like the Zero 7 sounding “Tomorrow’s Dust” have a self-improvement bent.
The cover of The Slow Rush features sand in a house, like the sands of time on “Lost in Yesterday”. It’s all very smooth and meticulous. Along with the uplifting lyrics, this is sugar to a lot of an audience raised on EDM. The hooks come from everywhere like on the repeated “I can” line on “Breathe Deeper”. Tame Impala crosses several different genres and do it very well. For most of The Slow Rush, it’s hard not to ride the many grooves right to the end.