Reviews

Tides of Change for Tame Impala

This week Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker released "Eventually" on the music world. This is the fourth and assumedly final track release ahead of the new album Currents, due July 27th. In this article I take a look at the pre-released tracks and let the psychedelic current lead me downstream.

This week Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker released “Eventually” on the music world. This is the fourth and assumedly final track release ahead of the new album Currents, due July 27th. In this article I take a look at the pre-released tracks and let the psychedelic current lead me downstream.

Parker has spoiled fans with musical releases in the past month, kicking things off with the defining “Let It Happen,” the group’s first release in over a year. The mellowed, synth-led melody of Tame Impala’s lead single set the tone for what is to be expected from Currents, in a dynamic 7 minute anthem that enticingly builds and falls. The track melds together a number of shifting elements to draw in the listener, including the use of a digital skip, like a CD skipping a track, which then takes over and becomes the leading rhythm. Parker keeps us guessing up until the final phrases of the song “All this running around / I can’t fight it much longer / Something’s trying to get out / And it’s never been closer.” This is a song about breaking out of the cocoon and letting go of the past, reflecting the creative changes Parker is consciously making on his new material. “Let It Happen” represents a more collective approach from Tame Impala. Long gone are the hallucinogenic solos characteristic of their self titled EP; the new tracks are consolidated, and they hold their place in time and space.

The next gift from Parker was the strapping spring breeze that is “‘Cause I’m A Man.” The song is smooth: unlike previous Tame Impala works that utilise extreme pauses and tempo changes, this one holds true. The tongue-in-cheek allusion to male weakness shown in the chorus – “Cause I’m a man, woman / Don’t always think before I do / Cause I’m a man, women / That’s the only answer I’ve got for you” – is reflected in the lazy tones of the single. There’s no denying that this 80s-inspired dreamy slow jam will be the sing-along favourite at festivals everywhere this summer.

Speaking of summer, it’s safe to say that Tame Impala’s sound thrives off of the hazy vibes of the coming season. There’s no BBQ without “Mind Mischief,” and no summer drive is complete without “Elephant” on the stereo. “Disciples” continues this summer spirit; at a snappy 1 minute 50 seconds play time, it’s one of those blissful but fleeting tracks that makes you wish the artist had constructed a full 3 and a half minute version. But I suppose that’s what makes it so attractive in the first place. The falsetto vocals are backed by a demanding bass line and steady percussion creating a progressive, lo-fi track that moves with purpose. This is definitely one for those mid-July twilight drives.

This brings us up to speed with this week’s release “Eventually,” a synth-infused break-up song with a soft chorus fronting a very intelligent composition. The chorus is the best part, as Parker pauses almost talking to the listener: “I know that I’ll be happier/ And I know you will, too,” before breaking into a long drawn croon of the track’s title. “Eventually” gets to the crux of Tame Impala’s new direction; it’s soft and subtle, with those melancholy synth notes hovering in your ear long after the song finishes. Parker gives us some more depth with this track – its’ nostalgic and pensive, which is maintained through the stripped back quality of the delivery.

All of these tracks paint a very colourful image of the new album. It’s still psychedelic and it’s still characteristically Tame Impala, but there’s a subtle change in Parker’s approach this time round. These four releases exert a longing for collectiveness, and it’s clear that they have been crafted to reflect each other in a broader soundscape. Building on the critically acclaimed cornerstones of Innerspeaker (2010) and Lonerism (2012), the new material is another step outwards for psyche-pioneer Parker. It will be interesting to see how these tracks fit into the wider narrative of the new album and to see what other surprises are in store for us. If the new tracks are anything to go by, we are in for a treat. I for one will be looking forward to July 27th through a kaleidoscopic lens of anticipation.

Currents is out July 27th on Interscope.

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