Reviewed by James Lavender
The music press seem to be going crazy for Australian psychedelic rockers Tame Impala, who have conducted a complete sea change with their new album Currents. Just listen to ‘Elephant’ and ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ from 2012’s Lonerism and you will see the complete extent of that change. ‘Elephant’ has rock stomping, T-Rex glam written all over it. Then listen to ‘‘Cause I’m A Man’ from Currents, which features atmospheric synths that can be heard on most 80s pop music, it is quite a stark contrast, and not for the better.
It’s not that the album’s production values are at fault, in fact there are some synth arrangements worthy of Vangelis and Daft Punk, as well as some generally funky tunes on it. For example, ‘The Moment’ has an excellent driving rhythm which is reminiscent of Tears For Fears’ ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’. There is also a noteworthy bass arrangement on ‘The Less I Know The Better’ which sounds like Gary Numan’s ‘Music For Chameleons’. So if it isn’t the sound or production of the music that’s the problem, what is? My problem with Currents is that it’s a break-up album. The whole record is based around lead singer Kevin Parker’s searching of his soul and acknowledging the need for change and move on. This is suggested in the song titles such as ‘Love/Paranoia’, ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ and, most obviously ‘Yes I’m Changing’. However, I have a rule around break-up albums; they can either be amazing, like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, or they are self-indulgent; there is no middle ground. Alas, Currents falls into the latter. Although Parker can pen good lyrics, most of the lyrics on Currents sound like an A-Level English Poetry student’s work. The album left me with a cold feeling which I can’t really shake off even after multiple listens. Some critics and fans will praise the quality of the album’s music, but the music is something you can’t really warm to. Maybe I have to go through another break-up in order to understand Parker’s feelings, but if I’m being honest to Parker and the Tame Impala gang; get the guitars and get rocking again!
Recommended Track: Cause I’m A Man