Personal growth can be difficult especially in a place as fickle as the music industry. Everyone wants the same old thing, and to venture beyond the norm is, in most instances, a death sentence. But in their third studio album, Currents, Tame Impala have taken a giant leap forward, and with their identities still intact, moving beyond the psych-rock elements of yesterday and into a new dance-friendly realm. It’s a bold move, but one they pull off with a veteran-like ease and sophistication.
The jump from Modular Recordings to Interscope certainly played a part in the shift in style, but at the heart of it the lyrics have maintained the same ironclad hold. Parker expresses cautious optimism (which may relate directly to the new style), but even then he never lets go of his honesty or integrity; often expressing doubt and hope in the same song. Currents is clean, refined and free of cliches, a solid blend of style and substance.
Opening with a very simple mantra; the unshakable belief that in time whatever is supposed to happen will happen, good or bad, for better or worse. It’s sage advice that unfolds over a bedrock of psychedelics, and right in the wheelhouse of what we’ve come to expect from the whirling dervishes:
Heavy grooves that embrace more than just a night full of drugs and debauchery. There’s a moment of deep remorse going on, and within it a revelatory moment has been reached. It’s not groundbreaking, but it is clean with a nice palate of sound and verse. A total package that expresses maturation:
More drug induced wooziness, this one brought on by laughing gas. There’s not much in the way of lyrics, merely a soundscape with all the wah wahs one can handle. There’s a voice of concern echoing throughout, but the sense is that by the time everything registers everyone will be gone:
A groove heavy selection of beats that help usher in another enlightening self help mantra. The revelations keep pouring in from every angle and the only thing that can contain them is a smattering of thunderous breaks and electric synth, a firestorm where from chaos comes a moment of peace:
Airy and sentimental yet committed enough to have a clear and present direction. The eventualities of life are manifesting and he’s trying to spread his message to those that he loves most. It’s got a bedroom production style vibe that makes the intimacy of the message resonate with subtle force:
The end of a broken relationship serves as the motivating force and is in essence the thesis of the album. The production is tight and progressive, and is successful in that it doesn’t indulge. The ambiguity matches the feelings of uncertainty; it’s a familiar feeling but fresh in its approach:
A nice musical counter to what is otherwise a drab experience, the feeling of unrequited love. It’s been a consistent move throughout the album, and while subtle is a creative way to mix things up. He sees her with someone else, feels the pain, but is quick to move on to bigger and better things:
A spoken word piece that offers a chance for him to slow down and mull over all the moves he’s made. The beat moves at a slow clip, and is crucial in that it allows him to ruminate at his own pace. The feeling is that it won’t last long, merely a detour to help carry him to the next plateau:
Pop friendly and warm like a ray of California sun. It was supposedly inspired by AM ’70s radio, but where that correlation comes through is uncertain. What is known is someone has a message, but the communicator is having second thoughts, a moment of apprehension that can last a lifetime:
A return to form so to speak, where we get the psych rock elements of yesteryear. There’s still a dance heavy groove that keeps the mood light, but what makes it work and why the album is successful is the layered lyrics that express growth and maturation, a clean blend of style and substance:
R&B gems are abound — from the hard hitting bass and Bee Gee like melodies to the sweet lamenting of that crazy little thing called love. The album is picking up steam, which is a good sign moving forward. It’s not simply a revivalist sound, but the genuine article — a step forward in sound and spirit:
Heavy on the beat, and a majestic way to wrap up a solid album. It’s been all about personal growth and achievement, but Parker remains practical assuring listeners that there’s still a long way to go. His confidence seems to wax and wane, but he remains steadfast in his march towards progress: