A few days ago I posted the first 20 in my Top 40 Albums of 2012 (check it out here). The first half of the list is always easier to compile than the final 20. With this, the top half of the list, I find myself swapping albums from one spot to the next, trying to refine my list to the perfect order. Of course, this “perfect order” is never truly found. On one day I’d much rather listen to my number 17 than my number 5 and vice versa. I can promise you, all of these albums are fantastic. In order to come up with a definitive order, I took into account the overall significance of an album, not just which has the best collection of songs, but which is the perfect album – the themes, the order of the songs, the cultural significance. Within those parameters, I had no doubt what would be the number one album of 2012. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
There are a lot of bands out there today trying to recreate sounds from decades past. Whether it be aiming to recreate the stilted synth of the 80s, the lo-fi simplicity of the late 50s and early 60s, or the early 90s indie rock distortion. One of the most common victims of this resuscitation of rock Gods is the psychedelic rock of the late 60s with bands like Olivia Tremor Control, The Amazing, and Brightback Morning Light relying heavily upon ancient equipment scoured from pawn shops and auction houses. While bands like these have been able to recreate a sound from the past, Tame Impala have taken the psychedelic genre and flipped it on its head.
On their first album Innerspeaker it seemed like they were just another band that was into the hobby of refurbishing old sounds, but with their latest release, Lonerism, the band has found a way to cut from the same psychedelic fabric while still creating something completely original and exhilarating. Many of the instruments used on Lonerism are lifted from that same mystical pawn shop mentioned earlier, yet they manipulate these amps and instruments in ways that bands like The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane couldn’t have ever imagined.