The Black Keys meets MGMT in Tame Impala’s newest multi-faceted album, Currents. Kevin Parker’s psychedelic rock band streamed its album on NPR days before its official release, scheduled for tomorrow (July 17th).
Critics everywhere gave the Australian band’s album extremely positive reviews, calling Tame Impala “an unlikely but worthy candidate for major stardom,” and listeners’ reactions “what psychedelic music is truly about.”
For months, Tame Impala had been teasing the new album, releasing singles like “Eventually,” “Disciples,” “‘Cause I’m A Man,” and “Let It Happen.”
The first song off the album, “Let It Happen” sounds like the love child of Foster the People and a wonky Daft Punk, especially towards the 5:30 mark. This echoey track passes time on a walk, let’s say, for an impressive 8 minutes.
It’s a song as much about accepting the flow of life as it is about defeat. Either way, the lyrics follow the theme of the album title:
“All this running around, I can’t fight it much longer, something’s trying to get out, and it’s never been closer.”
In stark comparison to “Let It Happen,” the short but psychedelically sweet transition song “Nangs” draws me in with its warpy, trippy intro. Though overall, the song lacks buildup, the beginning reminds me of CRNKN’s remix of Sam Gellaitry’s “Waiting So Long.”
“Yes I’m Changing” is a favorite off of Tame Impala’s newest project, mirroring the Currents theme with beckoning lyrics such as:
“Yes I’m changing, yes I’m gone, yes I’m older, yes I’m moving on // and if you don’t think it’s a crime, you can come along with me.”
This floaty, astral song gets me catching my breath subtly at the 2:43 mark and fades in sounds of traffic towards the end.
“Eventually,” another favorite, reels me in with a strong intro, outlined by bold chords. “Gossip,” on the other hand, is an all-over-the-place song that perfectly represents the word gossip through music, full of hums of words and buzzes of chatter, and twangs of truth strung in between.
I admired “The Less I Know The Better” for its impressive slanted rhyming (“together”/ “get her”/ “Trevor”/ “ever”/ “Heather”/ “better”) and “Past Life” for its warpy nature. A deep voice narrates a messy and haunting love story about a romance from what seems like a lifetime ago. The music, set against a synth-filled, surreal backdrop, finally breaks up into reality at the end when someone picks up the phone and a girl’s voice says, “Hello?”
And finally, “Love/Paranoia” leaves the reader floating in a musical ocean, enveloped by the dramatic notes of an electric violin, heart pulsating with the heavy beat.
Since his self-titled mini-album release in 2008, Tame Impala’s style seems to have grown more psychedelic and less rock-ish. But he always leaves his fans more bewildered than before.
“Half Full Glass of Wine” seems to head in one direction, but soon slows down to pursue another, with a sound that reveals precisely why Tame Impala caught up and gained support.
2009 saw the release of his first single “Sundown Syndrome,” wisps of which are evident in his newest project, Currents. Lots of chords wavering with heavy vibrato dominate the song, and it’s not until “Solitude Is Bliss” comes out in 2010 that we hear Parker rely less on studio-produced echoes and more on the strength of his own voice.
Currents, like Tame Impala’s past releases, follows a path that music listeners can’t seem to pin down. You don’t know where this musical direction came from, and you have no clue where he’s going next. But he left us all wanting more.