Music Review: Currents by Tame Impala (2015)

Release: 17 July 2015
Release: 17 July 2015

After Tame Impala‘s second release Lonerism I fell in love with the band. Their first album was great, but their second was an incredible listening experience and track nine “Elephant” is an easy contender for one of my favorite tracks ever. Their work is reminiscent of The Flaming Lips in their prime, something which had been lacking in my listening diet since Wayne Coyne went off the deep end. So, before the release of Currents I was the most excited I’d been for a psychedelic rock band in a very long time, but with the first few listens I was left disappointed. Lucky for me I gave it several more shots. Each time I came back I found more and more to love. Now I’m confident enough to say that this work is fantastic, memorable and destined to be a classic. Though it might not be as great as Innerspeaker or Lonerism, Currents still brings a lot of fun to the table. It is an album that maybe needs many listens to grow, but for those willing to spend the time, it is a worthwhile experience.

The Tracks:

“Let It Happen” – A great catchy song that is as good as anything Tame Impala has produced before. It is very enjoyable and made me very excited for the rest of the album. Really, the only down side for me is when the track sounds like it’s a skipping record. Without this grating moment, “Let It Happen” would be in contention for my favorite Tame Impala track.

“Nangs” – A small simple track that works mostly as a connection between tracks 1 and 3. “Nangs” in short and forgettable.

“The Moment” – Possibly the best track on the album. It is nearly as good as “Let It Happen” and keeps the momentum from track 1, despite “Nangs”. The song can be a little heavy on the snapping, but this doesn’t really bother me till later.

“Yes I’m Changing” – A big step down from “Let It Happen” and “The Moment”. “Yes I’m Changing” starts out great, but simplicity in lyrics and a lot more snapping brings the track down. It doesn’t feel like it has anything unique or interesting to bring me back. It is a second rate “The Moment”.

“Eventually” – I’m starting to see a pattern to this new album. Every other track seems to be a homerun. “Eventually” has similar melodies to the rest of the tracks, but for some reason the lyrics and melodies come together in a much more wonderful fashion. Yet another example of Tame Impala at their finest. This track reminds of the Flaming Lips classic, The Soft Bulletin; which is really the best praise I could possibly give.

“Gossip” – Just like “Nangs”, “Gossip” is track which bridges “Eventually” to “The Less I Know The Better”. This time, it’s a bit better than “Nangs”, but still nothing more than filler.

“The Less I Know The Better” – Something about “The Less I Know The Better” causes it to burrow deep into your brain. This track will be running around in your mind for weeks to come, and I love at all the more for it. It is groovy, soulful, catchy and so much fun. If you only give one track a listen, make it this one.

“Past Life” – The instrumentals of “Past Life” are the best part of the track. I thought that maybe they were breaking the pattern of good track, bad track, good track, bad track, but I was wrong. The pattern is alive and well. “Past Life” is instrumentally great, but vocally uninteresting. I found this song had a great opening but left me feeling rather disappointed.

“Disciples” – “Disciples” is a quick, enjoyable track and a huge improvement to most of the albums short tracks. Tame Impala can produce some great ambling psychedelic rock, as well as some fun, quick tunes. By this point the shorter, more exciting tracks had been lacking on Currents. “Disciples” is that track. it’s not great, but not bad. A good addition to the album.

“‘Cause I’m A Man” – At first listen I hated this track. I found it boring and forgettable, but with each subsequent listen I find myself getting pulled deeper and deeper in. It is a great track if you have the patience to try it again and again, and it works well in the greater context of the album. Do yourself a favor and listen to Currents in its entirety several time and you will likely find yourself just like me, dancing terribly to this track’s slow but addictive melodies.

“Reality In Motion” – “Reality In Motion” sounds good alone, but I didn’t find it very memorable in my first several listens. It is certainly a grower, but that might be the case for all of Currents. It fails to do anything too unique or special and might just get missed behind the more memorable tracks.

“Love/Paranoia” – With this track I felt the same as with “Reality In Motion”. A decent enough track on its own but it gets a little lost in the great context of the album. For “Love/Paranoia” though, it isn’t quite as good as Reality In Motion or “Disciples”. It is still a valuable addition to the album and does improve Currents in regards to consistency.

“New Person, Same Old Mistakes” – This track is a long and funky jam to conclude the album. The track works well to encapsulate the greater sounds and themes flowing through the album. It works a fantastically as a closer and fits really well in the album. I find myself thinking back on my Currents listening experience with surprising fondness, and I would argue this closing track is to blame.

Overall the album is good, possibly great, but that is for time to tell. The first half is horribly inconsistent mixing good songs with boring and forgettable songs. The second half is incredibly consistent and features some great tracks that just aren’t quite as memorable as the stars of side A. If you like psychedelic rock then check out this newest Tame Impala release, but remember it isn’t quite as good as either Lonerism or Innerspeaker. I’d still give a 4 out of 5 stars.

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