On the (somewhat) eve of the expected release of Tame Impala’s 4th album, the coolest band in the world – not the biggest nor the best – has delivered a synth-soaked, piano-lead and groove-based track that has some people conjuring up Elton John on acid or Jamiroquai up the front of The Weekend. At first listen, even an uber-fan would have to admit it washes over you inoffensively, like an unbroken swell without the undertow. On the second, you start to notice more of the refined sonicality of the record: the trademark lush soundscape Kevin Parker has singlehandedly developed over the last decade. By the third though, it’s as if you’re now chasing an apparition: a façade of decent tune that just doesn’t materialise.
Lyrically it’s a cross between the hopeful and the wistful – but don’t expect anything profound. We’re talking pedestrian, accessible wordplay. Pleasingly, the drums are on point – Parker’s drumbeats and the drum sounds he pulls are second only to Matt Helders'. But there’s really nothing much to report by the way of increased songwriting flair. The arrangement is slightly unconventional, yet the chorus of “Just growin' up in stages (Lay down no more), Livin' life in phases, Another season changes, And still, my days are shapeless” is melodically generic and doesn’t quite get stuck in your head. Maybe the impetus of the track is Parker grappling with what to do without his lack of a daily grind and being at the whim of his artistic expressions (and the limitless timeframe that gets easily adopted). Given the lad’s now in his Thirties, has bought a plush South Freo pad and he’s just tied the knot with his sweetheart, it’s clear he’s undergoing a metaphysical change. It’s inevitable.
But as I say: It’s not bad. The Piano chord progression is beautiful and the electronic phasers and effects are like fairy lights on a Christmas tree. You can definitely believe Kev’s statement that someone had to pull the pin on the mixing process and end the sessions, otherwise he’d still be fiddling around, prevaricating over the “upper-mids”. This reviewer wishes he’d stop pissing about trying to make his Rickenbacker sound like a Synthesiser and make it sound like – gulp – an actual guitar again. Imagine hearing a guitar solo on a Tame Impala record again. The heavens would fucking open.
Right. In conclusion, the only real kick-in-the-face, instantly apparent thing about ‘Patience’ is its lack of remarkability. However, despite no glaring proof of brilliance, the track is a pleasant enough tune with a great groove for driving. I’m sure there’ll come a time soon, when driving Down South along the Forrest highway, I switch on the Radio and out comes ‘patience’ on the Jays. At that moment, it’ll all make sense.
Have a listen and make you your own mind...