Psychedelia is a deceptively hard thing to do right. At first glance, it might seem like drowning everything in hazy, woozy effects is all one needs to do. Maybe throw in some crunchy guitars and wah wah pedal the shit out of them, or light everything up in neon with a few squiggly analog synths. But quality psychedelic rock has always been about achieving a balance, about setting the tone for that intense, densely layered trip without getting lost in it. On one side of the spectrum usually lies quality songwriting, and precise attention to detail in the studio. On the other, clutter and cosmic debris.
Perth-based Tame Impala’s music, of course, falls far on the former end of that spectrum. It’s boundless psychedelia on a grand scale, executed to near perfection time and again. Everything is soaked in sun and dripping with vivid color. Cymbals splash like fireworks, space odyssey synths wiggle in and out of focus, and frontman Kevin Parker’s vocal harmonies rise and fall and converge as if John and Paul circa ’67 were being channeled in over some supernatural frequency. Parker’s Sgt. Pepper’s sensibilities are fully on display, but they’re also complimented by thunderous, bedrock drum fills and backbeats. It’s a powerful combination, grounding Parker’s dreamy melodies and melancholy reflection to a solid backbone, without losing any of its explosive, propulsive potential. “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” follows on the heels of singles “Apocalypse Dreams” and “Elephant”, showcasing one of the album’s slower, wistful moments. Really, you should grab the album, but for now, you can also peep the visuals for “Elephant” below.