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If you count yourself among those surprised by the synthy pop turn taken by Tame Impala on their new record Currents, it is worth tracing Kevin Parker's relationship with the guitar. On the group's 2010 debut record, Innerspeaker, Parker displayed an affinity for scuzzy melodies that beamed at listeners, creating a psychedelic sound for the 21st century. But by 2012, when the band dropped their much-adored album Lonerism, Parker seemed to already be shifting toward something quite different. During an interview with DIY Magazine at the time, he revealed that he had "exhausted [his] love of experimenting with guitar sounds." Change had peeked in on Lonerism, but a wholesale change appeared to be on the horizon. And so we arrive at Currents. This is a record meant to deliver something different than the introspective isolation of the previous two albums. This is a record meant to further Parker's well-documented love of experimentation with sound. And while the record accomplishes both of those things with flying colours, it also achieves one more feat: it serves as a living, breathing testament to the musical brilliance of Kevin Parker.

What makes Currents such an intoxicating and satisfying listen is that Parker masters the art of painting a beautiful picture beneath which a darker image resides. From the outset of the album, initiated by the stunning, shimmering splendour of lead single 'Let It Happen', the introversion probed at length on the previous to records again finds its place. Coming on the heels of Lonerism's massive critical acclaim, Parker likely found himself tearing between his internal predisposition to mental strain and the urge of others to let his fame shoot him skyward. So in this sense, the refrain "let it happen" doubles as both the advice of folks hoping to see his celebrity rise and as the pained resignation of his mind to his own shortcomings. Cast beneath an epic eight-minute soundtrack of near constant shifts, twists, turns, drones and disco glory, all with hardly a guitar in sight, this is among the very best tracks Tame Impala has ever created.

And the mastery simply does not slow. The celestial dream pop ballad 'Yes I'm Changing' casts a warm, sunrise type glow as Parker muses about the dissolution of a romance with the pangs of sadness that knows its time to move on. "There's a world out there and it's calling my name," he croons, "And it's calling yours, girl, it's calling yours, too." Chimey synths, that Steve Winwood or REO Speedwagon would have killed for in any of their tracks, punctuate the melody from just below the surface as the steady rhythm of the band's deft drumming and bass carries the track to a heartfelt close.

Given Parker's reputation as a perfectionist in the studio, it is no surprise that Currents took three years to release, including a two month delay to the album's release date. There are a dizzying amount of bounces between various instruments, styles, tones, volumes and issues facing Parker, namely the band's evolution, as well as his own. Even more astonishing is that the record never drops the ball. Instead, each and every one of the record's 13 tracks makes its own stamp over the course of 52 minutes.

Again harkening back to 2012, Parker explained to interviewers that he had a "fetish for extremely sugary pop music," the kinds made by the likes of Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue. He even added that he had written seven or eight songs for Minogue, having to stress that it was not an ill-advised attempt at humour, but instead a serious fascination with crafting thoughtful, artful pop.

Currents does nothing if not succeed in that mission. It is a communal record, meant to be enjoyed by shuffling feet grooving to its supple, dancey beats. It stands clear and apart from the past of Tame Impala, choosing to take a knife and separate in favour of moving forward. Moving is living and Currents gets that. This is as close to pop perfection as music has seen in quite some time.

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