Tame Impala has been making music since 2007, and while hit singles “Feel Like We Only Go Backwards” and “Elephant” garnered them well-deserved radio airplay, they haven’t exactly been household names in the music industry.
That’s all changing with their new “Currents” release, a delightful romp through 13 tracks that satisfies from start-to-finish.
Their new release might be described as more electronic and less rock than their last, boasting rich, atmospheric melodies, lots of reverb and some passages of chill wave.
Think “synth pop” containing emotive, etherial layered harmonies atop a base still firmly rooted in rock. ‘Psychadelic pop’ is an apt descriptor.
“Currents” was created in a fashion similar to Lonerism. Introverted music virtuoso and band frontman Kevin Parker wrote and recorded the majority of the material by himself at his home studios in Australia, and also France.
Opening track “Let It Happen” seems to be about metamorphosis. In a recent interview with Under the Radar magazine Parker said the track is about “finding yourself in this world of chaos,” and then surrendering…”Who knows?” he said, “it might be amazing.”
The theme of surrender is one Tame Impala has explored before – recall the lovely, floaty “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control” on Lonerism.
Let it Happen
Other stellar tracks include a pop-infused “The Moment,” the unconventional “Past Life” and its quirky storytelling approach, “Cause I’m a Man,” a song Parker describes as explaining shortcomings of the male gender, and a heart-wrenching yet somehow cheerfully delivered “Eventually.”
About Tame Impala
Hailing from Australia, Tame Impala was founded by musician Kevin Parker who began songwriting at the age of 12. The band got its start in 2007 in a home recording studio Parker set up.
The band toured in 2008 including opening for The Black Keys. Parker’s influences include Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Jefferson Airplane and Fleetwood Mac. A side project during this time was a short-lived psychedelic funk band “Space Lime Peacock,” with Parker on backing vocals, guitar, bass and drums.
After releasing several singles and EP’s, Tame Impala released their debut “Innerspeaker” in 2010. It was certified gold in Australia and well-received by critics, including Pitchfork, who named it Best New Music.
In 2012 came the phenomenal “Lonerism,” netting a Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative Music album and reaching platinum status in Australia. Rolling Stone gave it “Album of the Year.” The band toured internationally in 2012 and 2013, playing major music fests including Coachella and Sasquatch, and also played Glastonbury this past June.
Parker has referenced being treated unfairly by the music industry, saying “up until recently, from all of Tame Impala’s record sales outside of Australia I had received…zero dollars.” A lawsuit by the band’s management has been in the works.
When touring, Tame Impala are: Jay Watson, synthesizer, vocals, guitar; Dominic Simper, guitar, synthesizer; Cam Avery, bass guitar and vocals; and Parker, guitar and vocals.
Melancholic sojourn: “Yes I’m Changing”
On “Currents,” Parker’s skills as a producer and mixer, songwriter and vocalist are deftly showcased.
“Yes I’m Changing” bears the Tame Impala trademark of lush synth-orchestration and falsetto vocals, but is far more pop-permeated and radio-friendly than previous works. It’s a melancholic sojourn made even more poignant by Parker’s often Lennon-esque vocal style.
We can’t blame him for sounding so very much like the maverick Beatle, and most certainly do commend his polish, perfectionism and attention to detail.
Yes I’m Changing
An original and ingenious release, there’s no doubt “Currents” will make many “Best-of” lists. Once fans have memorized all the songs they’ll likely be queuing up to see the band perform on tour to hear how these new, inventive tracks are performed live.
Upcoming show dates include San Francisco, Rome, Paris, Glasgow and Austin.
You can check for more dates here.
Tame Impala’s latest is currently number one on Billboard’s Alternative Album chart and number 4 on the Top 200.