Album Review: Currents by Tame Impala

Typically, it’s considered to be unprofessional or rude to discredit the backing members of a band in a review but that’s not the case with Tame Impala.  Kevin Parker truly is a one man band in the recording studio with the other members of the band in for touring purposes and performing Parker’s music live.  If the other members of Tame Impala, or anyone else for that matter, were to record with Parker for these albums, it simply wouldn’t sound the same.  Parker is a staunch perfectionist so it’s best to let him do his thing until he’s finally content without any foreign alterations from other band members.  Of course this is not to belittle the other members of Tame Impala as they are all very talented individuals but it’s not very likely you’ll see them shine on a Tame Impala record.  You can, however, hear the other members’ excellent work in other bands such as Pond and The Growl.

(From left to right: Jay Watson, Cam Avery, Kevin Parker, Dominic Simper, and Julien Barbagallo)
(From left to right: Jay Watson, Cam Avery, Kevin Parker, Dominic Simper, and Julien Barbagallo)

Over the past five years, Tame Impala has gradually adjust from ‘60s-esque psychedelic rock to synth-heavy psychedelic pop manifesting signs a of healthy progression giving listeners enough variety to stay impressed without upsetting pre-existing fans with overwhelming change.  There will always be someone making a comparison between Kevin Parker and John Lennon due to the nature of their voices and their association with psychedelic music but Currents’ is a step away from anything Lennon did in his career.  With bits of disco and R&B and an abundance of finger snapping, Currents is an unusual move for a band typically associated with psychedelic rock but it makes sense nevertheless thanks to their smooth transition between 2012’s Lonerism and Currents.  More than anything, Tame Impala has a become a pop band but this is not a new development to ‘Currents’, which acts as a reinforcement to the change Lonerism brought upon after Innerspeaker and assures the listener that they’ll keep up with dependable and catchy pop songs.

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The album starts out with the first single from the album, “Let It Happen”.  “Let It Happen” was our introduction to what this album would be like last March and showed us what the notable absence of guitars would sound like on a Tame Impala album.  Following “Let It Happen” is “Nangs” which acts as an interlude after the almost eight minute long dance-rock single.  “Nangs” gets it’s name from Australian slang for canisters of laughing gas which are sometimes used recreationally and have a disorienting effect much like this song.  After “Nangs” comes a few expertly-crafted pop songs in “The Moment” and “Yes I’m Changing”.  “The Moment” actually follows the same beat as “Elephant” from their previous album but thanks to the lack of guitars on the track, manages to sound completely different from it’s popular counterpart providing a refreshing new twist on something we already love.  “Yes I’m Changing” serves not only as a heartbreaking melody potentially addressing a former partner of Kevin Parker’s but also a meta acknowledgement to the evolution of Tame Impala’s sound.  The final single off the album, “Eventually”, follows, starting off with a scratchy lo-fi noise before descending into several powerful chords that are nearly thunderous in effect. “Past Life” incorporates something weird for Tame Impala, the track has a spoken word voice over in a deep voice that you’d almost expect on an A$AP Rocky or Odd Future track and offers one of the most surreal experiences from a Tame Impala song.  The next two songs, “Disciples” and “Cause I’m a Man”, were both singles with “Cause I’m a Man” being the lead single off the album.  “Disciples” is short and sweet, starting as a lo-fi song before a noticeable click which leads into crisp quality and distortion and “Cause I’m a Man” is a funky, relaxed song highlighting the many flaws of men.  The album finishes strong with “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” that features a soulful sitar-like riff until the song fades away, ready for the first track to be played over again on repeat.

Photo courtesy of Maxim
Photo courtesy of Maxim

Overall, Currents assures us that Kevin Parker and Tame Impala are well on their way to becoming the most dependable pop act out there which is also hinted at by their previous works and collaborations between Kevin Parker and Mark Ronson.

9.5/10.

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