Tame Impala’s new single, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” from their 2012 album Lonerisms, is a full-bodied exploration of psychedelic strains found in their earlier work. In 2010, the Australian band released Innerspeaker to critical acclaim, including Pitchfork’s sought-after ‘Best New Music’ label. The 13-track album combined expansively dreamy melodies with ambiguously subdued lyrics. (“Lucidity, come back to me. Put all five sense back to where they’re meant to be.”) Yet the single “Solitude is Bliss” from that first album gave us a peppy beat, easy strumming and a few flippantly introspective lyrics — “there’s a party in my head and no one is invited.” The second single “Lucidity” also hinted at distortion and white noise, but clipped along at a nice pace, avoiding the messy, roiling intricacies of true psychedelic rock.
“Feels Like We Only Go Backwards,” on the other hand, isn’t pulled along by a readily accessible, danceable rhythm. You don’t jog to it; you don’t bike to it: you lie on your common room couch and close your eyes and let your head loll. The three-minute piece is intricate and textured, building off a hypnotic, swaying beat with heavy guitar chords and warbling synths, only to reach Kevin Parker’s signature ethereal, floating vocals. Like much psychedelia, the song recalls those inimitable late Beatles tracks, including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Clubs Band‘s “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” Verdict: worth a listen.
– S.J. Balkoski