“Currents” begins with Kevin Parker allowing the forces of nature to take control of his life. Having successfully digressed upon the melancholic beauty of isolation on both “inner speaker” and “Lonerism”. Kevin Parker, The creative driving force of Tame impala, consciously decides to “let it happen”. Indicating that he was once, in the kindest of terms a “control freak”. On Currents Parker finds himself succumbing to the blissfulness of not giving a f**k anymore. It is noteworthy to state that sonically tame impala do not sound like a band anymore. There is an exclusion of electric guitars, and a heavier reliance on electronica .The album is solely driven by the singular vision of Kevin Parker. This is a product of a meticulously worked studio rat and one can imagine Parker hunched over a synth board, curating his next piece.
Take the opener: “let it happen”; where a pulsating drum break beat is accompanied by squirming synthesizers, which are driven by parker’s sensual, yet chaotic bass lines. Impala are no longer concerned with epitomising the “revivalist” 60’s/70’s rock movements of the past. Though critics will never get over the fact that vocalist, Kevin Parker sounds like John Lennon. Parker is rather concerned with how he can combine the sounds of electronic music with more traditional forms of rock rhythm sections, while allowing the music at its core to function as “psychedelic rock”. Perhaps he was influenced by “Kid A” or “loveless”, where electronic elements did not overtake the core “rock parts”. Tame impala end up resembling the sounds of indie electronica band black moth super rainbow, had BMSR stopped taking drugs; while simultaneously memorising 70’s Am radio rock chord progressions. In an alternate universe eh?. We also get the hallucinogenic “nangs” where Parker rhetorically sings “is there something wrong man?”; symbolising both the confusion and paranoia that being under the influence of some worldly drug comes with. After all this is psychedelic music.”Nangs” isn’t some cheap form of lyricism though, Parker may be in dialogue with himself, perhaps the lingering effects of trying to be a free spirit still hangs in the air.
“The moment” follows in the blueprint of “let it happen”; in which scattering hand claps, clash with the ever timely produced drumbeat. Here though we get a “Catchy hook “which defies the verse/chorus/verse format. The “catchy hook” arrives as a bridge; once again illustrating the artfulness in which Parker makes his pop music. Mind you this is still “pop music” in its purest form, but the overt, sugary presentation of the music is countered by the strong songwriting abilities of Parker. “Eventually” opens with two blistering guitar chords, which emanate like circa 1999 dr dre with those heavy hard-hitting drums; we then get lyrical musings about heartbreak. Eventually he sings, “I know ill be happier/And I know you would too”. A lovely sentiment but one not in alignment with overall arc of the album. The internal struggle of changing; yet falling into old habits, we get resolution here on “Eventually”.
Thematically, “Currents” functions primarily as a Post Breakup album, where parker the protagonist; evolvement as an individual weighs down on his relationships. On “yes am changing”, he sings: “and if you don’t think it’s a crime you can come along, with me” embodying his reluctance to absolve any guilt from others that comes with “changing”. Parker embraces change heads on, and anyone, perhaps a lover not on board can be left behind. He cannot I quote: “always hide away”.
Album closer “new person, same old mistakes” is the pinnacle of Kevin Parker’s mastery. We get vocal harmonisation akin to Yeezy; a rhythmically slow yet ear piercing chord progression with the most beautiful of Bridges. “New person, same old mistakes” amalgamates the sentiments on “Currents”. Yes you can change; but old habits don’t disappear too easily. An understanding of this can evoke a feeling of contentment with one’s life.
‘Currents’ is out on the 17th July 2015 via Modular Recordings. The full track-listing for the album is…
‘Let It Happen’
‘Yes I’m Changing’
‘The Less I Know the Better’
‘Cause I’m a Man’
‘Reality In Motion’
‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’