Label: Modular/Island Australia
Released: February 14

By now, we know what Kevin Parker is capable of, but there’s still an added thrill whenever a long-anticipated album exceeds expectations. It’s been five years since Tame Impala’s psychedelic funk-rock-alt sounds exploded in a particle accelerator and gave us Currents, which spawned sold-out stadium tours, festivals, Rihanna covers, and Travis Scott collaborations. This year, after the turn of a new decade and a few false starts (which still gave us incredible loosies like the aptly named “Patience”), Parker came back with a record strong enough to keep us fed for another five years. On The Slow Rush, Parker, now older and married, puts that incisiveness to work on themes of millennial angst. The album begins with “One More Year,” espousing all the vibes of January 1-type empty resolutions, false optimism, and self-deception. Six tracks later, on Slow Rush’s centerpiece “On Track,” it’s “nearly August” and the knife has firmly twisted. “Strictly speaking, I’m still on track, so tell everyone I’ll be alright/’Cause strictly speaking, I’ve got my whole life.” It’s the soundtrack of convincing yourself as much as you’re trying to convince others. Still, ennui has never sounded so groovy. Songs like “Breathe Deeper” use funk for encouragement, and the calming odyssey of “Tomorrow’s Dust” espouses “kill the past” energy. Even the bass-heavy furor of “Posthumous Forgiveness” eventually crescendos to soothing synths of catharsis. By the album’s end, time has elapsed from a year to an hour. Grim prospects, but not before the penultimate track allows a glimmer of hope. There’s always another year to “roll” your aspirations over into like vacation days. Until there isn’t. —Frazier Tharpe