Tame Impala – Currents
Moving forward just as much as it looks back, the new Tame Impala full length uniquely amalgamates 80s krautrock with classic psychadelia. Remaining a figurehead modern psych-revivalist band, the Aussies from down under have ironed out the fuzzy bedroom guitars into a smooth velvety concoction of warm 80s analogue synths, drizzled over Kevin Parker’s trademark hazed vocals.
The 8 minute album opening single ‘Let It Happen’ fittingly encapsulates the overall shift in sound. Its catchy electronic hooks that coincide with Parker’s soft auto-tuned vox sees Currents adopt a method closer to neo-psych dancefloor dwellers Caribou and Little Dragon, rather than the 70’s Beatles approach previous album ‘Lonerism’ forged.
The LP then spits out hit after hit amongst a selection of mysterious interludes that seem to appear as quickly as they diminish into Tame Impala’s cloud of drugged utopianism. ‘Gossip’ for example sounds like backing arpeggios to Chris Tarrant’s questions on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’, before a self-conscious twitching guitar solo hesitantly hovers above the tracks ambiguity. ‘Past Life’ begins as another relentless synth riff, until unexpectedly bursting into a nostalgic ballad where a heavily muffled vocoded voice narrates a story about a previous lover – revealing just how playful Parker’s project is these days.
There’s no doubt this release is a massive risk for Parker – persuading a fanbase largely made up of dogmatic stoner guitarists to fall in love with the integration of old school electro will be no mean feat. Those guitars of old are still evident, but are now smothered with R&B grooves and deep bass synths, increasingly prominent in penultimate hit ‘Love/Paranoid’ and sprawling album closer ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’.
Still as trippy as old yet as fresh as anything out there, Tame Impala have evolved in the best possible way. Parker has achieved the difficult balance of mastering Currents as original and accessible, yet as weird a beast as ever.