• About A Band: Tame Impala

    In 2012, Australian psych group Tame Impala released Lonersim. Off of the record was this breathy, anthemic warm-up track called "Be Above It" that starts like a song that would play before a high school football game. These game day songs were usually topical pop songs, or some incantation of The Ramones' hit, "Hey, Ho, Let's Go!" that's been covered to oblivion for pep rally purposes across the globe.

    Anyway, halfway through "Be Above It" everything changes. The song opens up, revealing a warm, layered, lighter song that would never, ever work for the scene above. It works for this track, though, and for the band. Some element of musical surprise has pretty much always been the allure of a Tame Impala record. 

    So when Kevin Parker announced that the group would be releasing Currents this past summer, anticipation was high. The musician-producer is known for consistently strange moves that might sound forced or muddy at anyone else's hand but end up making him look like a musical genius. 

    "It's very easy for me to quickly clog up the mix with every guitar and synth sound under the sun, which Lonerism is kind of guilty of and charmed with at the same time," Parker says about the difference between this year's release and his previous ones. The 29-year-old musician admitted that writing Currents was frustrating at points. "I never realized how difficult it was to be satisfied with only a few elements happening at once," he told us. Where the simple, chant-like introduction on "Be Above It," hinted at this notion, Parker chose to go further with the 'more is less' approach on Currents

    That's not to say it's not a fully realized record, or that it's at all dumbed down from his previous work. It's complex. When Parker dives deep into a song, and you think he can't go any deeper, there he goes. The sound is so clean, almost impossibly for the measure of effects he uses (listen to "Disciples" to see what we're talking about).  

    From start to finish, the music and lyrics read like a story. Parker says the theme of the album—and each song in particular—was clear early on. "It was just a matter of observing where they fit together," he says. "That's one of the exciting things about making an album: finding ways to put pieces together and seeing what it's saying as a whole."

    The record opens up with the swirling, synth-heavy "Let It Happen," its anticipatory lyrics provoking you to wonder what you're getting into.

    "I heard about a whirlwind that's coming round / It's gonna carry off all that isn't bound and when it happens / I won't be holding on" Parker sings. The whirlwind he's talking about is a rollercoaster narrative from a man to his ex-lover(s). Each song volunteers a new perspective from a half confused, half certain guy trying to work out the guilt and insecurities in layman's terms. For example, there's a line in "Yes I'm Changing" that goes: "They say people never change but that's bullshit / They do." So simple that it might seem like an afterthought—a way to fluff up the verse or carry a musical part through to its end. But it could also be argued that the line was written very purposefully. When Parker set out to challenge his propensity for clogging up the mix, maybe that bled through into his lyric writing. Why use a kitchen sink's worth of words when your point can be made in only a few?

    When we asked Parker whether these lyrics originated from his own personal experiences, he said he didn't think he could write a song that didn't. "At the same time," he went on,"I wouldn't write a song about something that I think has only happened to me. It's still got to be universal. I think when you find something that is both, that's when you know you're on to something." 

    Cue Currents, an album that truly captures the universal anxieties of moving on from a messy breakup, and how everything can change in a minute—with a phone call, while you're picking up your dry cleaning—or, at the very least, eventually

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