If you forgot Tame Impala is releasing an album this week, it might be because a steady stream of singles have been available to the public throughout 2015. The piecemeal release of tracks has some avid followers of this Australian psychedelic rock band familiar with highlights of Currents. Much like Hansel, psychedelic rock bands are so hot right now — well, not like Top 40 hot, but still hot. Tame Impala is the forerunner of what I call the “sunny psychedelia” genre including acts such as Jagwar Ma and Temples.
There is a common thread between Tame Impala’s previous album Lonerism and this year’s ddCurrents. While it might sound like I’m lumping my psychedelic bands together, Tame Impala has a sound that’s unique, and their new album showcases their artistic individuality brilliantly.
Let’s start things off right: The first track has the dreamy soundscape typical of Tame Impala. “Let It Happen,” a title befitting the ‘60s era’s zeitgeist that Kevin Parker’s Beatles-reminiscent vocals conjure, takes you on a journey, crescendoing immensely before before bringing you back to reality. A buildup and breakdown such as this is the type with which fans of electronic music are well acquainted.
Then, the record seamlessly transitions into dubby reverb at the beginning of the next track. I find this in line with a prominent rock music trend of the past 5 years or so, where rock artists borrow common effects or tropes of the electronic genre. Don’t fret, rock fans: This shows a healthy osmosis between genres and influences, in which artists are not pigeonholed. From there, the album lands into a flurry of lovely, upbeat tracks. “‘Cause I’m A Man,” “Disciples” and “Eventually” have been available for some time now, and the entire album is just as strong as these singles.
Tame Impala’s music has always made me feel like I’m looking out on a sunny day without a hat or sunglasses. The smacking of psychedelia and phasing evokes what it’s like to have your eyes squinted, needing your hand to help you make out the shapes in front of you. It’s complex without being dark. Frontman Parker continues to elicit the same feeling without recycling the exact methods used in the last album. It’s similar enough that existing fans know what to expect, but diverse enough that there is plenty to discover and enjoy.