Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories appears to have been on Kevin Parker’s mind while he was concocting the tunes for Tame Impala’s third full-length studio release, Currents, which breaks from the band’s previous guitar-dominated, catchy-as-hell psych-rock in favor of a sedate disco/synthpop hybrid. “The Moment” has a Steely Dan by way of Tears for Fears ambiance to it, which is not so much bad as it is unexpected. The funk-filled “The Less I Know the Better” taps into Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” — and replaces it with filler.
Yet Currents reaches its true nadir on the ridiculous “Past Life,” which reincarnates Radiohead’s “Fitter Happier” through the filtered narrative of Parker wanting to call his ex. The album does gain momentum with the whimsical fragment-of-a-song “Disciples” and the sleek white soul number “‘Cause I’m a Man.” Parker’s star continues to ascend, and there’s a certain logic to changing things up and not just cloning the fantastic Lonerism, but ultimately Currents, though it’s peppered with pretty melodies and is slickly arranged and produced, seems a bit self-indulgent and prosaic — making one long for the early days of Tame Impala circa “Half Full Glass of Wine” rather than a narcissistic album full of half-baked songs and whiny lyrics in the wake of a bad break-up.