Friday, 19 November 2010

Tame Impala @ Ruby Lounge, Wednesday 27th October 2010

Decent antipode rockers have been at a premium of late, which could go part way to explaining the sell-out crowd here tonight at this, Tame Impala’s second trip to Manchester.

After a quick test on the delay trigger, the Perth four piece drift in with debut album InnerSpeaker’s adagio opener, ‘It Is Not Meant to Be’. The slow, woozy intro may make little early impact, but the first single to be lifted from that album, ‘Solitude is Bliss’, soon moves through the gears; room-filling effects eagles swoop overhead, their talons turning attentions stagewards.

The bombast of another single, ‘Lucidity’, keeps up the tempo, but between songs there’s an ever-present temptation to play around with palm-muted strums that is the downfall of many an effects pedal embracer. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of musicians who, to their credit, wield artificial oscillation masterfully; Tame Impala are one such band. Indeed, since its popularisation in the late 1960s, many balance non-stop on a wah-wah pedal, but the inter-tune fidgeting can detract and grate.

Nevertheless, when used in composing melody the array of sound warpers is a definite plus point. Where ‘Expectation’ ends on a combination of fuzz and delayed chorus flange, there’s an interlude during which retro sci-fi special effects permeate recalcitrant bassline scuzzes, which relax into a soothing chillout before upping the tempo to its finale.

Desire Be Desire Go’ cranks into screaming guitars to signal the end to newer material with a closing medley of older tunes to look forward to. First there’s the poppier ‘Remember Me’ with its pout-worthy stomper of a riff, then ‘Skeleton Tiger’ emerges through pounding heartbeat drums, breaking down to jam mode and seamlessly reviving the original rhythm, to the crowd’s obvious appreciation. Finally, a Krautrocky steadiness akin to Neu! closes the show with ‘Half Full Glass of Wine’; not so much half-full of wine as of Cream – namely their song, ‘Sunshine of Your Love’.

True to their word, an earlier insistence that they don’t do encores is upheld and we’re left with a psyche racket simmering in our ears.

Words & Images: Ian Pennington

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