Okay, so I’ve listened to Tame Impala’s excellent new album Currents several times now. Like everyday, twice a day, since last Friday. I can say verytame-impala-currents-details-release-date-tracklist confidently that it’s a masterpiece. Kevin Parker has finally decided he no longer has to make albums that sound like they’re being performed by a crusty crew of long-haired, bearded psych dudes jammin’ on a weed and lager high. He’s succumbed to the idea -or realization- that he himself is just as much a producer as he is a singer in a rock band. Since the beginning he’s recorded Tame Impala records by himself, with the same old equipment, with the same idea in mind which is writing great, catchy pop songs. But he did so in a way where those songs could still be looked at as a band and not just Kevin Parker. Currents marks the point in Mr. Parker’s musical career where he gave in to the idea that he’s an amazing studio svengali that can manipulate sound and instrument into something that’s both retro and futuristic. He needn’t worry about creating the illusion of a “band” jammin’. Working with Mark Ronson must’ve given him the push he needed to fully commit to his studio and songwriting prowess. Sure, a broken heart always helps things along, too. This is his skewered pop epic. Currents is a classic pop record. A classic rock record. It’s just a classic.

The songs? “Let It Happen” is a nearly 8 minute kinetic, anxiety-soaked, dance track that pulsates urgency and the vibe of “when it happens, let it happen.” There seems to be a million things happening in this song, yet it never feels overindulgent. It seems to encapsulate everything about Tame Impala that I’ve grown to love about them(or him.) “The Moment” could be a b-side from Thriller. I could so completely hear Michael Jackson singing this great track. All the studio trickery with delays, echoes, and ethereal synths are here, but Parker’s voice is much more in the center and pulled up for us to hear. It’s a much more clear-eyed approach to a Tame Impala tune that we haven’t heard before. “Yes I’m Changing” is pretty much an all out ballad. A song about coming to grips with the idea we don’t always stay the same. People grow apart and that’s that. Parker has tinkered with sentiment before, but here he’s embracing it completely. “Eventually” has an “It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” vibe to it, if you threw in some 80s Genesis on top and coated it with some powdered sugar. One of my absolute favorite tracks is the sublime “The Less I Know The Better”. For me, this song epitomizes a childhood of sitting in the backseat of my mom and dad’s 1984 Honda Accord and those rides being soundtracked by early 80s FM radio. The electric piano, the wurlitzer, the disco-lite beat, and the falsetto are throwbacks to a time in pop music that is looked back upon as cheesy and processed; yet Parker seems to make it relevant and poignant. This song is about as perfect a pop track as they come. “Disciples” comes in and out of the speakers in less than 2 minutes but it’s classic a classic psych rock guitar track. “Cause I’m A Man” is a skewed slow jam. THC-fueled R&B. “Reality In Motion” sounds like something Parker may have penned for Melody Prochet but decided to keep it for himself. “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” feels like a mantra put to stark pop bliss. It’s slow, loping drum beat and intricately placed musical easter eggs make for some great headphone listening.

Currents does something quite fantastical in that it takes the uncool and makes it cool again. Those cheesy electric piano sounds you heard in Richard Marx songs in the mid-80s? Well they’re not cheesy anymore. Kevin Parker takes the uncool and makes it vital. Currents is a pop record from another dimension. A dimension where Kevin Parker co-wrote “Billie Jean” with Michael Jackson and smoked up with Alan Parsons. It’s one of the best records of the year.

9.8 out of 10

 

 

 

 

About the Author jhubner73

This is where I drop the spat and spittle, the sentimental fat and drivel... Music and such, and maybe a word or two about a word or two. Midwest point-of-view, without all that religion and gun stuff. Intellectually unintellectual. Elitist for the pizza and beer crowd. Grab a bean bag and lounge in the basment for a while, won't you?

11 comments

  1. I’ve never been that taken by Tame Impala, I’m afraid. I’m not quite sure what it was. I really should have liked Innerspeaker and Lonerism but I found them a bit cold and uninteresting. Maybe a bit too cool for school? Anyway, this does sound interesting. More interesting than those two.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m with you on Tame Impala, liked the 1st LP but thought Lonerism was a turkey.

        As I’m always right about everything all the time, I have decided I don’t like them anymore without hearing any of their new music.

        Might be wrong though …

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Meh. I usually like your picks, but I have to disagree with you on this one. I’ve liked their previous records, but this one sounds boring, trite and geared for radio.

    Like

    1. If radio sounded like this I’d be more apt to listen to radio. We’ll agree to disagree, as I think there’s nothing on this album that even comes close to being trite or boring.

      Like

  3. Opinions! Controversy! Pre-determined reactions!
    Thanks for the review, JH. Tried to buy this today but my fave shop was sold out. I liked the first album a lot, the second quite a lot, the live one not quite so much. I wonder if this is Tame Impala’s equivalent to Super Furry Animals “Phantom Power”?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, we strive for controversy over here at Jhubner73.com. Springer for music freaks. Thankfully no fist fights broke out…yet.

      Outside of a couple albums, I’m not very familiar with Super Furry Animals(hangs head in shame), but going on the fact you liked Lonerism I’d say you will really enjoy Currents. You must let me know what you think of it when you do get a hold of it.

      Liked by 1 person

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