REVIEW: Tame Impala – Currents

There’s nothing like a bit of psychedelic music to accompany the sunshine. If you don’t believe us, then head out into the heatwave, sunglasses on, sip a cool drink and give Currents a spin, because this third album from Tame Impala is delicious. It’s gorgeous. It’s sumptuous. It’s lush. It’s a dizzying cocktail of rich fruity colours, icy cool and deep warmth. It’s the perfect summer record.

It’s also a change in sound for the Australian rockers. A guitar band leaning more heavily towards electronic influences is an incredibly clichéd narrative nowadays, but for Tame Impala it feels inevitable. Lonerism took the psych rock of their debut Innerspeaker and added tinges of electronica and pop melodies. Currents is a natural extension of this trajectory, with its disco rhythms and layers of softly whirring synths.

Opener Let It Happen is quite the statement of intent: a nearly eight minute track of infectious hooks and dance structures that will appeal to fans of Jungle or Django Django. And amongst the various short interludes, there are plenty of slow-burners like the relaxed, nostalgia-tinged Yes I’m Changing; the lazy, shimmering Eventually; the drug-fuelled headrush of Past Life; and Balearic feel of single ‘Cause I’m A Man.

The rock sound hasn’t disappeared though: all those waves of dreamy synths remain underpinned by live drums and driving basslines. The strutting The Less I Know The Better is a key example with its spiky rhythms – probably the most accessible and pop-friendly track of the album. The overall collision of styles results in their strongest material to date.

We could go on: the ‘80s twist of Reality In Motion, the glimmers of Love/Paranoia, the dark and bubbling New Person, Same Old Mistakes. Sure, the lyrics are often incomprehensible and bleed into the overall textures, but from track to track the band have developed a continuous tapestry of warm summery goodness. It’s like a luminous watercolour painting of psychedelic sounds – stare too long and you might start hallucinating.

Ed Nightingale

Currents by Tame Impala can be ordered here.

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Tame Impala - Currents
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