Album Reviews | Tame Impala – Currents (2015)

LonerismTame Impala received quite a bit of acclaim for their 2012 album Lonerism, picking up a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album and prominent placement near the very top of many critics’ year-end lists. (Lonerism is currently the third most acclaimed album of 2012 and 322nd most acclaimed album overall on the critic list aggregator Acclaimed Music.) To be perfectly honest, I have heard the album but haven’t retained much of it after a couple passes, though my impression of it is positive. And that more or less was identical to my opinion of Currents, Tame Impala’s mid-2015 follow-up, for many months: I tried to get into it, but largely couldn’t due to circumstances or for reasons I can no longer recall. A few dozen spins later (seriously), I can confirm it’s one of my favorite albums of 2015, and one of the most addictive, as well. It’s actually hard to believe Currents is nearly an hour long — it races by so fast it’s hard to pinpoint where the time goes.

InnerspeakerAwash in synthesizers, Currents uses Phoenix‘s contemporary indie electronic template, but takes it in more of a neo-psychedelic direction. For the most part, these are essentially rock songs, but there are instrumental interludes and more compositional stretches that make the album truly a wonder to behold. And there are some great tracks here, too: “The Moment,” “Past Life,” “‘Cause I’m a Man,” and “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” are among my favorite songs of the year, for sure. Tame Impala has been a blind spot for me these past few years — I have been meaning to get into not just Lonerism, but their 2010 debut Innerspeaker too — and Currents has brought me on board in a big way. It should easily find its way into my top five favorite albums of 2015 when all is said and done — everything here works really well. The songs — particularly the ones I mentioned above — are tightly constructed, but the synth-heavy production gives the impression of endless textural variation, ensuring it never gets old to pass through them again and again.

Summary
Tame Impala's third album Currents is a triumph, plain and simple. Lonerism may have established Tame Impala's Kevin Parker is a multi-talented artist and producer, but Currents cements his status as one of pop music's top talents regardless of genre.
Good
  • Some killer non-singles: "The Moment," "Past Life," "New Person, Same Old Mistakes"
  • Slippery, watercolor textures work to the album's advantage, particularly when combined with the perfectly calibrated bass
  • Very repeat listen-friendly -- as soon as it's over, you want to listen to it again
Bad
  • Production is reliant upon synthesizers, which not everyone might like
  • Heavy dynamic range compression
9.5
Amazing

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