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Focus seems impossible to maintain these days.
With our bodies and environments teaming with gadgets and distractions, there are a million things at any one time clambering for our attention.
And yet, like an implant from another place and time, Kevin Parker labours and obsesses over his work. Every day for months on end doing thousands of takes on single tracks, the Tame Impala mastermind has a steal focus and clarity of vision.
It’s like he’s above the trivialities of day-to-day existence. His only goal is to craft the album he’s already created in his head. And it’s that unwavering focus that has delivered arguably the first perfect record of 2015.
If I’d never read that the inspiration for Currents spawned from a cocaine and mushroom fuelled night drive in an old sedan around Los Angeles listening to the Bee Gees, that would have been the ridiculous, hyperbolic story I would have envisioned for it.
However, to think that a person can take an initial inspiration such as that and convert it into a full piece of art years down the road is mind boggling. Particularly if you’ve been privy to the kind of proclamations made by anyone on either drug.
But here we sit – Currents is a living and breathing organism. The disco influence is palpable – from the falsetto vocals to the programmed beats and synthetic chords. As too is the cocktail of drugs – ecstatic, dopamine peaks followed by washed out waves of relaxation. Synaesthesia of sound and illicit sensation.
Part autobiography (Parker recently ended a long term relationship with French artist Melody Prochet – she of Melody’s Echo Chamber fame), part general concept, the levels with which you can relate to this record are numerous. Especially because for the first time in three albums you can finally hear Parker sing clearly, his vocals not buried beneath a watery mix.
And of course there’s the influence of the dancefloor. So much of this record would work equally on a gigantic festival stage amongst friends and strangers as it would solo, shifting from leg to leg in a dark corner of a dingy late night club, your mouth chewing through your bottom lip and every tip of your skin close to climax. Its versatility translating seamlessly between the two seemingly unrelated worlds.
Currents is so much more than the sum of its parts. And yet it’s one of the most cohesive records you’ll ever hear and if you attempt its entire journey from start to finish using just a fraction of the focus with which Parker used to make it, you will be greatly rewarded.
Tame Impala’s ‘Currents’ is out Friday July 17th and you can bag a pre-order here.
Listen: Tame Impala – Let It Happen