If you can make it through a listen of the new record from Tame Impala without melting into an all-consuming groove and dancing your ass off, you have no business with electro-pop. Currents is a perfectly spaced out synth fest of epic proportions, sweet and salty, nuanced and huge all at the same time.
Each song takes on multiple lives, morphing over and over again until you forget where you started. In fact, opening track “Let it Happen” could not be more aptly titled. A journey of a song, it’s a nearly eight minute pop music marathon, flowing seamlessly between disco and pop vibes and making it sound easy.
And “New Person, Same Mistakes” follows suit, employing a buoyant hip-hop beat that pounds beneath ethereal synth before unfolding into something totally light and airy, and then evolving into a multidimensional dreamscape of harmonies. It’s floating and head-banging simultaneously, and you can’t help but get completely lost in it. “Finally taking flight/I know you don’t think it’s right/I know that you think it’s fake/Maybe fake’s what I like”, sings Kevin Parker in his smoky, satiny voice. “Feel like a brand new person/I finally know what it’s like,” he breathes, wispy, but confident and cool. Then suddenly, it becomes an R&B song, and since you’re already on board, you’re not going to go anywhere.
Currents is the ideal name for such a record as this one. There are so many phases to it, and so many layers to peel back, and it’s endlessly fun to do it. Dense with nuances, but breezy and hypnotic, this is easily Tame Impala’s best work yet. The theme of currents and phases run through nearly every track, too. Songs like “Yes I’m Changing”, “Past Life” and “Reality in Motion” confront the many changes and phases we go through in the various stages of life, growing and evolving all the time.
Parker is a visionary when it comes to crafting vivid, visual soundscapes that seem to magically have many lives. Even some of the little musical “shorts” included on Currents, like “Gossip”, “Disciple” and “Nangs”, feel fully formed and thoughtfully crafted.
While the dreamy, washed out electro vibe has always been Tame Impala’s aesthetic, Currents is a true dance record in every sense. It’s built for movement and seems to want to absorb listeners so fully they become a part of it. It’s got a throwback disco sound that’s retro and a little kitschy, but the production is so smart and polished, it’s easy to take it seriously. It’s a little theatrical, but it’s not silly or played out. Parker uses these influences and styles to his advantage, resulting in something addicting and new and exciting. Currents is a thrill to listen to, no matter how many times.