I didn’t swing a copy of the freshly repressed Tame Impala EP on Record Store Day ’13, although I waited in line for about 3 hours at The End of All Music, I did pick up one of the restocks a few months later on a total whim.
Side A spins off into the opening chords of “Desire Be Desire Go” that bleeds pure distortion then slides into a humming bass. Kevin Parker, creator/vocalist of Tame Impala, kicks off the album on his deepest, darkest fear. He speaks of the realization of the absence of true desire, and that desire can go, just as it can be. An almost soothing volume of anticipation slowly builds, as Kevin speaks of universal fears and the truths behind them. His vocals carry on throughout most of the song, while he works his guitar into playing harmonizing backup vocals.
“Skeleton Tiger” keys into a jammy Beatles-esque chord progression, as Kevin’s opinions seem to verge into a more positive note: You can do what you want as long / as the cotton is high and strong / We should be like this all the time / For the Earth, one day will die. The song layers deeply in hypnotizing bends of steel guitar strings as it gets lost in filthy synthesizer of heavy proportions. A guitar riff fades in and out as the bongo beat to the drums carry shire madness before jumping back to the original progression.
“Half Full Glass of Wine” begins with a bass line that sounds like a mad man pounding on an oak door, as Kevin eerily whispers: You leave me no choice but to plot my revenge. The anticipation from “Desire Be Desire Go” rekindles from your gut and the driving guitar harmonizes with the ride of the drums. The song strips back down to the knocking door of the madman before the final build and drop that eases all prior anticipation, guaranteeing a solid Side A.
“41 Mosquitoes Fly in Formation” speaks of the wonderland that is Kevin Parker’s bedroom/recording studio and all the consistencies within. Where he sleeps till late, waking up in lazy bones with no concerns, not minding if he doesn’t do anything all day. However, he ensures with his listeners: I’m alright but my pet cockroach died of starvation.
“Slide Through Your Fingers” comes off as more of a second thought on the subject matter of “Desire Be Desire Go.” He senses reality taking over his life, but saves himself just before it’s too late. Fears and anxiety are transformed into a motivation. Granted he knows what he will miss out on, he must commit to what he refers to as his “fixed plan.”
“Wander” is essentially what the entire album is about. The pondering thoughts of Kevin Parker veer from past, present, to future. Is he gaining ground of his fixed plan, will he ever gain ground, and does any of it even matter? The songs slides into an instrumental jazz break, leaving the listener with time to self-reflect on what has just been experienced. The ending drowns out: For hour on end I wonder / Still I don’t even know.
If this gem ends up back on the shelves at The End of All Music, I’d highly recommend picking it up (and possibly framing it.)