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