Australia’s own Tame Impala have over the last few years been lauded worldwide as masters and saviours of psychedelic rock and pop. The first two albums are acid tinged journeys into aural wonderlands powered chiefly by the incredible song writing and production of main man, Kevin Parker.
Parker could have just repeated the same guitar based lysergic wash for ‘Currents’, the third full length Tame Impala album, and seen it generate similar success to previous album, ‘Lonerism’. After all, that album was deemed one of the very best from 2012. However, he has decided to head down quite a different, albeit well lit path! In fact, the majority of this album could be by a totally different artist.
This is a very immediate album. Utilising dance beats, synthesisers and nary a guitar in sight, ‘Currents’ is far more closely related to Daft Punk or Air, than Pink Floyd or Hawkwind, and is none the worse for it. The bass guitar is prominent throughout, giving the album a seductive groove, over which the swirling and floating synthetic sounds can dance.
Indeed, the most impressive aspect of the album is the beautiful production done once again, by Parker himself. Recorded in his home studio, he gives the songs so much colour and vibrancy (and psychedelic verve!), that you can’t help but think how much fun he must have had getting all of those sounds in his head, down onto tape.
And whilst lyrically at least, this album comes across as a ‘breakup’ album, it certainly doesn’t reflect that musically. Key songs include the dancefloor opener ‘Let It Happen’, the clubland wooziness of ‘Reality In Motion’ and the funk-soul stroll of ‘Cause I’m A Man’.
Cause I’m a man, woman. Don’t always think before I do. Cause I’m a man, woman. That’s the only answer I’ve got for you
Newcomers who discover Tame Impala via this album may have trouble connecting with the previous two albums. Likewise fans from the beginning well may be crying “where’s the guitars??” But if you like your favourite artists to be risk takers or chameleons, then Tame Impala is a good horse to back.
At time of writing this, Tame Implala Currents had just made it to number 5 on the US album charts, showing that his leap of faith has paid off.
Kevin Parker is a bright shining light in the music world today, leading from the front and taking his audiences, if they want to go, along for an exhilarating ride.