“The movement in Orion’s nebula and the slime from a snail journeying across a footpath.”

… and this is how Tame Impala describe themselves. Being the project of the thirty-year-old Australian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Richard Parker, a declared fan of The Shadows, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Supertramp since childhood, it is no jaw-dropper that many people describe their music as something like: “Beatles, but funkier”. Adding to this is Parker’s voice which alludes to John Lennon’s, albeit a more “smooth” version of it.

Currents‘ is the third studio album of the band following ‘Inner Speaker‘ (2010) and ‘Lonerism‘ (2012) yet standing completely apart from its predecessors. While Kevin Parker’s songs in the first two albums were mainly based on jangle Beatles, The Byrds and The Church melodic guitar sounds, this “old” sound nearly seems to disappear on ‘Currents‘. The near total absence of guitars gives way to electronic keyboard sounds and very catchy, sometimes even funky, basslines (The Less I Know the Better/ The Moment/ Let It Happen).

On ‘Currents‘, a lonely and darker Parker, plays all instruments and sings all of his thirteen, exceptionally trippy, tunes. The two released singles, ‘Let It Happen‘ and ‘The Less I Know The Better, are outstanding. ‘Yes I’m Changing‘, the fourth song of the album says it all: “Yes I’m changing (…) and if you don’t think it’s a crime, you can come along with me (…) they say people never change, but that’s bullshit, they do.” These lyrics are a clear message to us, the listeners, that says: Don’t expect that my music is always gonna be the same. I don’t want to bore me and you; I try to be an innovative artist. Actually, Parker, personally, has undergone some transformative experiences; therefore, it would be strange not to see that change, or, better, listen to it, in his music.

The album’s lyrics are basically melancholic; the main theme of most of the songs on ‘Currents‘, is loss and break-up (Love/Paranoia, New Person/ Old Mistakes). So if you just read Kevin Parker’s lyrics, without the music, you would expect no-good-vibrations music. But, as I said earlier, this is not the case here- the vibe of the music on ‘Currents‘ can put you in a breezy, relaxed state of mind. One could assume that Parker sees in his music some kind of medicine to help him overcome his inner sadness.

Currents‘ is not just entertainment. It’s not just a compilation of thirteen songs – it is much more than this. It’s an album in the classical sense, which means to say that you should take your time to listen to it. It does not make much sense to pick out two or three songs. It is complete music therapy for the composer as well as for the listener.  So don’t hold back, let It happen; listen to one of the best psychedelic albums of rock history.

Jochen Altenhuber