Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Psychedelic and electronic are perhaps the most overcrowded fields these days, so it takes a lot to climb above the ranks. Australia's Kevin Parker is top dog now methinks, especially since The Flaming Lips got too weird. Parker's use of song structure and grand melodies take the songs here to a new level, as pleasing a pop album as it is an experimental one.

Aside from a few obvious examples of deliberate impishness, Currents is one of the most infectious and charming collections in years. Lead cut Let It Happen serves the purpose of turning away those who like pop but can't take a little mind-warping. At a couple of points, the music gets muffled, like someone is holding a pillow over the speaker. Then at the four minute mark, it begins to repeat, sounding like a CD skip, going on long enough to bring the mainstream rock fan in from the kitchen, thinking the damn thing was stuck. He was annoyed, I kept going.

After that, Parker goes into wacky producer mode, with all the tools in the world open to him. Imagine what Spector or Wilson would have done in the 60's, layering instruments and voices, bouncing tracks off effects, chambers and delays, with no time pressures in the studio, or having to stop and teach the musicians the parts. Not only is he armed with the imagination, Parker can write the songs too, with bouncy beats and decades of pop music to draw on, from 60's tunefulness to 70's disco-funk to 80's electronic happiness. The sky's the limit, and Parker is sounding like Icarus before the fall.

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