It’s safe to say that in 2012, Tame Impala truly arrived. The Kevin Parker-led outfit released their sophomore album, Lonerism, on October 5th, which was preceded by the crossover hit single ‘Elephant’. The single confirmed that the new offering by Perth’s favourite sons was set to be a significant one, and it did not disappoint.
Boasting tracks such as ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ and ‘Mind Mischief’, Parker built on the neo-psychedelia established on the band’s debut, 2010’s Innerspeaker, and through new production methods and expanded use of electronics, took it atmospheric.
One of the highlights of the album is the second single ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’. Sugary pop meets swirling psychedelia, at the time, this was the most pop-oriented song Parker had written and was the first sign of things to come for the band. Without the release – and the success it enjoyed – it is probable that Tame Impala wouldn’t have pursued the sound with the release of their third album, Currents, with such verve.
In 2020, Parker told Konbini: “To me, at the time, that was like the most pop song I’ve ever written. I’ve never written a song that was just: chorus. I was really proud of that one. There was never a time when I doubted that song. It feels like it’s the most effortless.”
Interestingly, in an interview with Rick Rubin on the podcast Broken Record, Parker revealed that he wrote ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ after being inspired by ‘Walk in the Park’ by Baltimore’s own electro-pop legends, Beach House. The song is track four on the band’s third album, Teen Dream from 2010.
A dream-pop anthem, you can hear where Parker got the inspiration, although without his revelation, it wouldn’t have been clear. The constant use of the synth and chorus driven edge of the song make sense, but that is where the parallels end. Typically Beach House, ‘Walk in the Park’ is imbued with the introspective melancholy that they do so well. A key difference is that Beach House’s track is much rawer than Parker’s, with the music hitting you in places that Tame Impala’s fails to do.
Parker’s effort is sweet to the core, and the production is clean, whereas Beach House vocalist Victoria Legrand’s vocals are quite high in the mix, with the gravelly nature of her delivery heard loud and clear. 12 years later, it sounds very much of that decade, owing to the production by Chris Coady, the man behind some of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV On The Radio’s most important output.
A pioneer of dreamy electronic soundscapes, there’s no surprise that Kevin Parker took a note from Beach House. They’re the masters of creating swirling sonic palettes and have inspired a whole generation of musicians, reaching far beyond the confines of indie.
Listen to ‘Walk in the Park’ below.