mon 17/02/2020

CD: Tame Impala - Currents | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tame Impala - Currents

CD: Tame Impala - Currents

Kevin Parker's anticipated album aims for the stars, but stumbles soon after launch

That's the pinball machine buggered, then

There’s been a real sense of expectation surrounding Kevin Parker’s new offering, with rumours of a disco album from the saviour of psychedelia after a conversion to the joys of the Bee Gees while on mushrooms. That sounded an interesting proposition – one that could make the mind bogle.

“Let It Happen” is a bold opening gambit – a delightfully melodic stroll over a glitchy bridge to an epic conclusion. It’s head-spinningly good, but doesn’t lead us by the hand to a dancefloor. “Nangs”, a dreamy pop vignette with heavy, hip-hop beats and wonky strings is lovely, but it’s also territory Koushik was exploring a decade ago – and to much more satisfying effect. Later, “Eventually” provides another high point, but most of what's here seems a fairly straightforward guitars-for-synths swap with melodies so rooted in 80s pop that they may as well be on a Bucks Fizz B-side. I hasten to add that’s not an insult – I like 80s pop, but it all feels disappointingly safe, given the build-up.

It’s basically an exercise in pop with occasional lush melodies

Much has already been written about recent single "Cause I’m a Man” with its vision of male culpability and lack of control: “Cause I'm a man, woman/Don't always think before I do”. Some see it as a refreshingly honest and stark existential self-assessment. Me? I think it shares the same intellectual turf as those 90s TV ads in which a ‘bloke’ (honestly, what are they like, girls?) struggles to put on a whites wash, presumably because his head’s stuffed full of football and tits. Picture that scene. Now pop in a soundtrack by Charles and Eddie. Voila!

The lyrical content rarely improves and reaches a nadir on “The Less I Know the Better”: “She was holding hands with Trevor/Not the greatest feeling ever/Said, ‘Pull yourself together/You should try your luck with Heather’." I simply don’t have the words. And neither, it would appear, does Kevin Parker.

Currents is an album that I want to like much more than I do. It’s not a disco album. Not even nearly. It’s also not that psychedelic. It’s basically an exercise in pop with occasional lush melodies, elaborate structuring and, at times, truly, extraordinarily, piss-awful lyrics.

'Currents' is an album that I want to like much more than I do


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters