2010 feels like it has been the year of the grower... Many of BlackPlastic's favourite records from the past twelve months have been those that hold something back, saving greatness for those that persevere.
Not instantly picked up on by many and certainly not as celebrated as it should be, Tame Impala's debut of spiralling prog-rock and thick, chunky bass lines sounds unlike anything else you will hear this year. Innerspeaker is like a trip through all of the best parts of seventies rock but with the added benefit of hindsight. The record is tightly wound into a cohesive whole that feels like one monster trip. Sure, it's retro, but unashamedly so and with a focus on production that sparkles and song-writing that feels timeless.
The closest thing to Tame Impala would be the introspective experimentation of the Flaming Lips combined with the shining bombast of Secret Machines. No bad thing in itself, and yet the band bring their own style, an added layer of psychedelia that is hard to resist.
If you have read anything about Tame Impala it probably mentioned 'Why Won't You Make Up You Mind' - a stand out track on an album that feels like a proper album to the point where individual highlights are difficult to pick out. And 'Why Don't You Make Up Your Mind' is undeniably great, awash as it is in harmonious vocals layered atop crying guitars that pan from left to right to left - only prog-rock can get off so much on the concept of stereo.
But to focus on 'Why Won't You Make Up Your Mind' is to miss much. There is the rapid thrill of 'Desire Be Desire Go', 'Alter Ego' with its looping drum section and acid soaked guitars that give way to a delicate bridge section and the Jurassic sized bass of 'The Bold Arrow of Time' for starters. Probably best of all in BlackPlastic's opinion however would be album opener 'It Is Not Meant To Be'. A ballad for the pessimist it opens proceedings in a wave of radio static before the drums crash in sounding like a prog take on A Tribe Called Quest's thrilling 'Scenario'. The result is wonderful. Singer Kevin Parker's vocals sound resigned in the best possible way - stoned, smitten and content to be even classed as in the race.
Innerspeaker is another one of those records you can't help but come back to. Each further listen feels like scratching away another layer of the silver crap that coats lottery scratch cards and you never quite know what else might lie beneath. Epic.