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New Music: Tame Impala

By Jason Herring, July 30 2015 —

It’s been a busy few years for Kevin Parker, the driving force behind Australian psychedelic-rock group Tame Impala. After the release of the stellar album Lonerism in 2013, the band shot to fame, headlining festivals and soundtracking movies. And their success is well-deserved — Lonerism’s best riffs feel classic, and Parker’s skill in crafting druggy masterpieces rivals John Lennon’s.

Now, Tame Impala return with their highly anticipated follow-up album, Currents. The album sees Parker taking a new approach with his band. While Tame Impala’s old work had grandiose guitar lines at the core of nearly every song, they’re only used sparsely throughout Currents.

Instead of guitars, Parker fills songs with layered synthesizers. The result is spectacular, with synths creating engulfing walls of sound easy to lose yourself in. This is clear on the album’s opener, “Let it Happen,” which starts off slowly, but steadily builds up with keyboard flourishes and drum fills until it arrives at an explosive and triumphant conclusion.ENT_TameImpala._WEBjpg

But the best example of Tame Impala’s stylistic change comes in “Yes I’m Changing,” a song that’s already a contender for this year’s best. The song is a joy to listen to, with ascending keyboard lines providing a gorgeous backdrop. But it also excels lyrically. Parker sings “they say people never change, but that’s bullshit,” on the pensive track, speaking about why it’s so difficult to cope with change.

The introspective lyricism continues for the rest of the album. Parker is frank and open as he discusses topics ranging from inertia on “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” to masculinity on “Cause I’m a Man.”

A lot of the songs are concerned with what sounds like a failed relationship. You could call Currents a breakup album, but I think that sells the album short.

The openness of Parker’s words are reflected in the vocal production. Though filtered through reverb, Parker’s voice always rises above the noise.

Overall, Currents is a gorgeous, well-crafted album that’s radically different than — but equally as impressive as — the music that preceded it. The album cements Parker’s status as one of the greatest minds in alternative rock today.


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