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Tame Impala

– by Ben Smith

Tame Impala continue to go from strength-to-strength, as they scooped three ARIA Awards off the back of their third album, Currents.

In a year where the Perth psychedelic-rock quintet’s rise to top of the music world gathered momentum, they caped off a marvellous year by winning Best Album, Best Group and Best Rock Album at Australian music’s night of nights.

Their big night at the ARIAs followed another excellent evening at the WAMI Awards night, where they confirmed their status as one of Western Australia’s, winning five awards including Most Popular Live Act, Best Album and Best Single.

It’s been a monumental year for the band, who had high expectations to maintain following the release of their 2013 breakout album, Lonerism. The likes of ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ and ‘Elephant’ were smash hits and propelled Tame Impala from exciting indie band into the public stratosphere. Kevin Parker’s soulful voice and ethereal guitars won fans around the world, as he soon became one of the indie rock world’s most important frontmen.

However, despite the pressure of following up Lonerism, Parker set up shop at his Fremantle home, which doubles as a recording studio, and went to work. Opting to record and producing the album himself, a first for the band, the frontman’s desire to see his band create more danceable music fuelled the album’s sound. Currents marked a slight departure from the band’s previous release, as the guitars were minimized in favour of synthesizers.

A big risk? Certainly. But Parker has earned a reputation as a hard worker, fussing over every miniscule detail to ensure it fit his creative vision. Never one to take it easy and rest on his laurels, Currents was Parker’s passion and soul condensed into a 50 minute CD. His musical flair is evident throughout and singles “Let it Happen” and “Cause I’m a Man” managed to both show off the new sound, whilst still appealing to lovers of their previous work.

Of course, Parker is not all there is to the band, as their best live band gong at the WAMI Awards proved. Long-time members Jay Watson (synths) and Dominic Simper (guitars), along with touring members Cam Avery (bass) and Julien Barbagallo (drums) are a well-oiled machine when it comes to playing live. Their recent homecoming shows at Belvoir Amphitheatre were proof of this, as two bumper performances to mammoth crowds allowed local fans to experience their renowned, high-energy shows.

What’s next is anybody’s guess. With two brilliant and popular albums to their names, expect to see Tame Impala continue their progression towards being indie rock’s biggest band. They are in possession of a loyal fan base, one which grows every day. It’s a safe bet to assume as long as Parker’s creative spark burns, the band will continue to produce the goods. Even at this early stage in their careers, Tame Impala have become a big band. The question is, how big they get?

Photo Credit: Matija Sraj (2012)

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