tue 20/10/2020

CD: Tame Impala - Currents | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tame Impala - Currents

CD: Tame Impala - Currents

Kevin Parker's anticipated album aims for the stars, but stumbles soon after launch

That's the pinball machine buggered, then

There’s been a real sense of expectation surrounding Kevin Parker’s new offering, with rumours of a disco album from the saviour of psychedelia after a conversion to the joys of the Bee Gees while on mushrooms. That sounded an interesting proposition – one that could make the mind bogle.

There’s been a real sense of expectation surrounding Kevin Parker’s new offering, with rumours of a disco album from the saviour of psychedelia after a conversion to the joys of the Bee Gees while on mushrooms. That sounded an interesting proposition – one that could make the mind bogle.

“Let It Happen” is a bold opening gambit – a delightfully melodic stroll over a glitchy bridge to an epic conclusion. It’s head-spinningly good, but doesn’t lead us by the hand to a dancefloor. “Nangs”, a dreamy pop vignette with heavy, hip-hop beats and wonky strings is lovely, but it’s also territory Koushik was exploring a decade ago – and to much more satisfying effect. Later, “Eventually” provides another high point, but most of what's here seems a fairly straightforward guitars-for-synths swap with melodies so rooted in 80s pop that they may as well be on a Bucks Fizz B-side. I hasten to add that’s not an insult – I like 80s pop, but it all feels disappointingly safe, given the build-up.

It’s basically an exercise in pop with occasional lush melodies

Much has already been written about recent single "Cause I’m a Man” with its vision of male culpability and lack of control: “Cause I'm a man, woman/Don't always think before I do”. Some see it as a refreshingly honest and stark existential self-assessment. Me? I think it shares the same intellectual turf as those 90s TV ads in which a ‘bloke’ (honestly, what are they like, girls?) struggles to put on a whites wash, presumably because his head’s stuffed full of football and tits. Picture that scene. Now pop in a soundtrack by Charles and Eddie. Voila!

The lyrical content rarely improves and reaches a nadir on “The Less I Know the Better”: “She was holding hands with Trevor/Not the greatest feeling ever/Said, ‘Pull yourself together/You should try your luck with Heather’." I simply don’t have the words. And neither, it would appear, does Kevin Parker.

Currents is an album that I want to like much more than I do. It’s not a disco album. Not even nearly. It’s also not that psychedelic. It’s basically an exercise in pop with occasional lush melodies, elaborate structuring and, at times, truly, extraordinarily, piss-awful lyrics.

'Currents' is an album that I want to like much more than I do

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Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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