Here I am trapped in my reverb filled head. It's not a bad place to be.
Just a few short hours ago my feet were planted firmly on dry sound. As a matter of fact I was listening to The Band and thinking about cooking some beans in a can on an open flame or trying to catch fish with my bare hands like on that ridiculous reality TV thing I caught my best friend watching the other day. I may as well have been drinking a Bud and wearing a motor-oil stained shirt that says KP over the pocket and "Working Class Auto Repair" on the back. I think you get where I'm going here. I was in the here and now. And then, Lonerism.
And now I'm, as they say, tripping balls. The world is not in color. It's in COLOR. It's in TECHNI-COLOR. All because a friend dropped off the latest by Tame Impala. All because of these beautifully concise little psych-pop gems. All because my imagination has flared as if I'd dropped some Owsley acid. And I mean original full throttle Magical Mystery Tour Owsley.
Lonerism begins with a running chant "Be Above It" that bends space and rhythm and flows into a melody so perfectly pop I think, "Am I listening to Runt? Is this Odessey and Oracle?" I've just been pulled down into the rabbit hole. And I'm smiling. And I can't imagine my smile can get wider. I can't imagine it can get better. But it does. Over. And again. Beautiful little gems filled with space and reverb and fuzzy guitars and hypnotic melodies and simple beautiful vocals that make you look forward to the days when you can lay in the grass and look up into cloudy blue skies. Fishing line falsetto vocals and hooks galore. An altered Tom Sawyer.
Did I mention I may be, um, experiencing this in an altered state? With eyes and smile wide?
Do I love "Apocalypse Dreams?" A better question would be, "did you play it 10 or so times in a row?" Yes. But I didn't really count. I just know it carried me along all the way to the fade. And I didn't want to go on yet so I'd play it again. And again. Until I finally and naturally drifted into the next cut "Mind Mischief." And I loved it more so. Lennonesque? Oh so. With "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" drums and maybe those are McCartney Red Rose Speedway harmonies. I don't know. I'm inside. I'm not Tim Leary looking in. I fixate on the thought this is the album that The Flaming Lips keep trying to make.
It's funny to be here in whichever song I'm in. It's hard to explain how much I love this album. I can't even take into account some of you'll say, "What is this? Sugar pop drenched in reverb and swirling noise?" I don't, and won't answer. I couldn't even if I had the ability to speak. Then, as now, I'm listening.
And either I'm going deeper or the songs are getting better and better and better. They roll out. Pour out. 'Til my face hurts from smiling.
Did I mention... um, I think I did.
I'm relaxed. And on edge. And I make a wish that everyone who loves this kind of psych-pop gets a chance to hear this album. And that Kevin Parker gets to make these albums for as long as he wishes to. Is that two wishes or three? And then "Elephant" comes on and I'm focused. Drums like Sabbath or Black Mountain or I don't know... but they pound me into submission. I... am... right... there. Back inside. Riding along. Looking around.
Finally we arrive at the end... "Sun's Coming Up." I flash on Lennon singing "What's the New Mary Jane" until the song evolves into a finale, resolves into a climax, and I'm left satisfied and resting on, or at least somewhere near, the ground. I'm back with Music From Big Pink and motor-oil but I believe I've changed forever.
Lonerism is a masterpiece, and available on vinyl, whether it's major or minor will depend upon how much you love where you end up after listening to it. But now I know a record like this CAN be made in the 21st Century. A beautiful sprawling reverb drenched joyful noise filled with instruments played and melodies sung. And each time I listen to it I know exactly where I am... freed and floating a few feet off the ground. Not a bad place to be.
Kevin Poore is a writer, director and musician permanently
rooted in Southern California. He hosts the long running music show "Nights At
The Sound Table," is currently filming a documentary "Long Playing" and once almost
came to blows with Dennis Wilson outside the legendary Troubadour. He
apologizes in advance for making you angry and you can write him at
Kevin Poore is a writer, director and musician permanently rooted in Southern California. He hosts the long running music show "Nights At The Sound Table," is currently filming a documentary "Long Playing" and once almost came to blows with Dennis Wilson outside the legendary Troubadour. He apologizes in advance for making you angry and you can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.