Tame Impala’s unprecedented ‘Currents’ album, Get familiar with Kevin Parker

Photo Courtesy: Toni Rosado
Photo Courtesy: Toni Rosado

By Stephen Elliott

Tame Impala released their third studio album on July 17, and its like nothing we have ever heard before.

Before the critically acclaimed Currents, Tame Impala modernized the mid-60s psychedelic sound with Innerspeaker and LonerismThe scratchy electric guitar on cue with the bass line on Lonerism’s “Elephant” on par with the genre of Flaming Lips and Animal Collective. The lyrically creative “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” was complimented by a Jon Lennon-like (need to carefully with that comparison) harmonized voiced that plateaued Lonerism and Tame Impala to the top of psychedelic music. When you listen to these two albums, you hear the resemblance of the classic Beatles and Pink Floyd, but it’s not mimicked.

Currents is different, however. Unlike the previous albums, all lyrics and music were performed by one man, Kevin Parker. He worked the drums, guitar, bass, keyboard and gave the album voice all while mixing and editing. Parker’s music was definitely still exotic and colorful, but maybe not he didn’t want it as loud. The heavy guitar rifts found throughout Lonerism are minimal and the new sound of dance and funk become more prominent. Currents lures you inside Parker’s loneliness during a breakup with smooth drum and bass harmonies. The sound resembles the recent Jamie XX album In Color and Daft Punk pop-dance music while still keeping Parker’s influence Beatles persona.

Lyrically, the album still represents the clear thoughtfulness that were featured in the other albums, and you can hear them. Parker’s voice pronounces smoothly over the music making you not have to listen twice to hear what he is saying. Kevin Parker takes you on ride where he explains his emotions and detailed thoughts through a complicated relationship. “Let It Happen” fittingly opens the album with words defining what goes on everyday in our life’s [“‘Let it happen, let it happen (It’s going to feel so good)”‘]. The thoughts in his head representing the noise during the transition of life. It gets to “Eventually” where Parker wishes to never remember his former significant other to avoid the emotional pain (“Wish I could change you back into a stranger/Cause if I was never in your life, you wouldn’t have to change this”). Parker’s final song “New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ is an ending to his album and his old music styling. He’s the same as the person on the previous albums, but he is trying to move on. Like currents, life is in constant flow and Parker is changing with it.

It’s too early to say what Tame Impala’s commercial success can turn into. It seems they are moving out of the psychedelic genre and dipping their toes into other musical spheres. My guess is you will here from this band for years to come.

Here is Tame Impala on Conan performing “Let It Happen”.