Tame Impala: Currents (Interscope) - Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Tame Impala



Jul 16, 2015 Tame Impala Bookmark and Share

Currents opens with “Let It Happen,” which instantly launches itself into the Tame Impala pantheon. Well, maybe not instantlyit takes close to eight minutes. But what’s quickly clear that this is a new shade added to Kevin Parker’s grab-bag of popular music tropes, his deft hand emerging this time around with disco, house, and pop elements in tow. A hundred criticsmake that 101will mention Daft Punk. Parker, for his part, has been dropping names like Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, and Fleetwood Mac in his interviews hyping Currents, and has mentioned dropping a few hard-earned bucks on a big modern synthesizer workstation.

Tame Impala has always been partly defined by a fusion of the aforementioned old-school tropes with modern production techniques, and one can distinctly detect a shift album-to-album toward the latter. There will be no mentions of Pink Floyd for this oneexcept that every single review will mention that there will be no mentions.

This may all sound anathema to those who envision Parker permanently hunched over a pile of decaying vintage gear, but rest assured he still gets a fair number of trademark warped synth sounds. Granted, he’s just as likely to coax schmaltzy yacht-rock electric keyboard sounds this time outif “DX7” means anything to you, well, there you go. Frankly, the fuzz-guitar fans may find themselves a bit underserved here. Best to suck it up and embrace those drum sounds, which are as precise and exquisite as ever.

Let all that exposition symbolize the getting-used-to-it that may accompany Tame Impala 3.0. But accept the new sonic realities and you’ll find plenty to love. “Yes I’m Changing” is the gauzier, slow-dancier side of The Cars, driving you home. “Eventually” has one of those undeniable, Lennon-esque Parker chorus hooks, not to mention some of that trademark Tame Impala drumming (again: those drum sounds, though). “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” is all weird atmosphere and a plodding almost-breakbeat. And the weird/adventurous side remains intactsee “Past Life,” a flanger-heavy trip narrated by a creepy pitch-shifted voice.

Notably, this album marks the first full-length that Parker handled essentially as a solo album, even eschewing the now-customary handoff to Dave Fridmann for the mixdown. Parker ends up somewhere closer mix-wise to, say, his recent collaborator Mark Ronson, or other modern progenitors of danceable pop music, than he does to any psych or classic-rock forebearsand a measurable distance from the sonic cloth of 2010’s Innerspeaker. Debuts of that magnitude can be a curse: what could Parkeror anyonereally do to match such Innerspeaker’s mind-boggling bounty, or even the glut of idiosyncratic perfection on its weird cousin Lonerism (2012)? The answer: it doesn’t matter. Accept this new gift, and maybe even trade in the couch-lock for some dancing. (www.tameimpala.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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April 29th 2017

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