The hype is over! After months of arousal, listening to Cause I’m a Man and Let it Happen every day on the Tripple J hype train, Currents is here!
Straight up, It’s beautifully strange, unique, twisted, and leaves me a state of perplexed admiration.
It doesn’t really fit anywhere. It doesn’t really belong on the radio, but it’s good enough to be shared, songs like because I’m a Man, Eventually, and The Moment. It’s a personal listen, Love/Paranoia, Yes, I’m Changing and new person, Same Old Mistakes are elaborate and deep, yet tantalizingly optimistic, fun and ultimately relaxing.
Currents is personal. Extremely personal. Kevin tells a story of a gentlemen in a bad place. After taking a ‘Nang’ he proceeds challenge and ultimately to free himself of philosophy in ‘Let it Happen’ as he continues to attempt to understand himself, pushing him back towards his ‘Same Old Mistakes’.
Tame Impala have developed from an experimental psychedelic sound to a unique hybrid of guitars and old school 70s style synthesizes. The sheer conglomerate of sounds present in the compositions on Currents is phenomenal for a synth pop progressive record. As is the range of influence from other genres of music, such as the loop techno break in ‘Let it Happen’ and synthphonica synth stabs.
Instrumentals and Production on Currents are nothing short of fantastic. The bass guitar is warm, full and easy to follow funk. Groovy guitar rhythms, feel good melodies, combined with extremely well defined, punchy synthasonic sounds deliver a Juxtaposition with the sad soothing vocals. The songs are majority minimalist, giving Currents its charm and completing the soundscape. Guitars and Stabs appear only when needed, much like a Wizard.
Despite its magic, Currents isn’t perfect. Somebody needs to say it. I’m going to tell you right now to listen to it, but it does have its shortfalls. Firstly, the un-passionate monotone vocals, which nobody would have a problem with if, it wasn’t on every song. To be fair, ‘Past Life’ does deviate from this formula, with a heavily vocoded voice, but still features these un-passionate vocals. This is progressive disco music. It’s the repetitive theme of love, and un-passionate vocals that give legitimacy to claims that Currents is in the realm of synth pop, not psychedelic music.
Which, whilst on the genre argument, is far-fetched music elitist nonsense. It’s whatever it does to YOU personally.
Kevin Parker on Reddit identifies ‘Eventually’ as the emotional core of Currents. Eventually saying no to his former lover, this extremely powerful, uplifting song presents a fantastic paradox. It fantastically delves into the emotions associated in ending a relationship, and the difficulties associated in doing so. Pure euphoria. Juicy Trance pads, giant thick breaks, ascending pitch bending samples adding a dark twisted dynamic, which transitions seamlessly back into this strange dreamlike trance.
“I know that I’ll be happier, and I know you will too, eventually”
It’s addictively hopeful, with catchy breaks and easy flowing guitar stabs, well timed pads, and clever violins. The big meaty Bass breaks, Horns and Guitars aren’t completely absent, like die hard fans are whining about, they all find their place and contrasts extremely well with the resulting soundscape.
Which brings me to this next point, and a little bit of free Wisdom. Just because there is predominance of synths , doesn’t mean there isn’t guitars. That’s like a house producer writing a song with guitars and then being relegated to the, “you no longer produce house music, you abandoned us.”
Time to stop reading the hungry little caterpillar, grow up, and accept the world isn’t that bad.
It’s the way these instruments are used that define an artist, not what instruments are used, and testament to Kevin Parker in all the hype. It’s this formula which is brilliantly executed, combined with the little things which graces Currents with its psychedelic undertones, despite minimalist themes.
This is were credit is due, and which makes Currents a strong all round album, thanks to it’s instrumental core values.
The traffic samples in Yes I’m Changing, perfectly timed breaks and stops, seamless transitions, using vocals to dictate, change and compliment the instrumentals in creative ways, such as on Eventually and Love Paranoria Cheeky guitar licks;
“I know I said I could never hurt you”
*DUNNN DUNNNN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRR*
“Did you remember the time by the ocean”
*Surfy rebellious guitar introduces itself*
It’s unbelievably simple and pure creative genius. Pushing Currents up to a solid album. Get on it!