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Album Picks: Tame Impala, Future, Camera Shy

Posted by Billy Gil, July 17, 2015 10:06am | Post a Comment

Tame Impala - Currents

Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker shifts gears a bit for his third album, drawing as much from ’80s soul and disco as he has from prog-rock and psychedelia. Though such a change could threaten to derail a good thing, Parker is the consummate perfectionist, and Currents’ various strands are braided together without a hair out of place. Opener “Let It Happen” builds from a proggish uphill chug into a psychedelic freakout and finally hits its stride with a silky disco beat. “Eventually” relies on rock dynamics but uses fat synthesizers to achieve its booming changes. And a tune like crystalline psych-funk jam “The Less I Know the Better” seems to marry all of Parker’s influences into a perfect amalgam, calling to mind everything from Michael Jackson to My Bloody Valentine. Through it all, Parker is the same chill knob-twiddler he’s always been, but he’s come out of his shell a bit more—it takes confidence to command a song like “’Cause I’m a Man,” which gloriously oozes ’70s cheese, akin to Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” or 10CC’s “I’m Not in Love.” From the get-go, Parker himself seems to be reflecting on the change—“Something’s trying to get out/And it’s never been closer,” he sings on “Let It Happen.” It’s confirmed by the time we get to “Yes I’m Changing,” ostensibly a breakup ballad but it seems more pointedly about an introvert accepting accidental stardom (“Curse indulgence and despise the fame/There’s a world out there and it's calling my name”). This lyrical theme, the sense that Parker is coming into his own as not only a songwriter and performer but human being, gives Currents a unity that even the superb Lonerism didn’t have. In every way, Currents is a complete triumph, both as a fascinating headphones album for production junkies and as a set of immaculate psych-pop songs that feels endlessly giving.

 

FutureDS2

The Atlanta rapper comes back with his third studio album and sequel of sorts to his breakout Dirty Sprite mixtape. Impressively, DS2 does away with nearly any guest spots—the lone guest appearance is by Drake, on “Where Ya At,” in which Drake provides clear-headed respite from Future’s dizzying autotune garble. But this is Future’s show, and his variety of voices and cadences on a track like “Groupies,” over clattering production by Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital and Southside, proves he has enough ideas and personality to carry an album on his own. Lyrically, Future isn’t reinventing the wheel, rapping largely about women and purple drank, but it’s always been more about the way in which he says them, layering various processed vocal bursts on “Lil One” ‘till it’s an army of Future. And when he does get a good line in—“Thought It Was a Drought’s” “I just took a piss and I seen codeine coming out / We got purple Actavis, I thought it was a drought”—he hooks you to stay and get lost in the funhouse of Southern beats and rapid-fire vocal riffs. The deluxe version includes five extra tracks, including the spacey “Trap N*****” and “Fuck Up Some Commas,” an awesome English teacher’s nightmare whose quick spurts make any language trappings seem like a joke.

 

Camera Shy - Camera Shy

Two veterans of the Bay Area shoegaze band Whirr make a wistful indie-pop record together that recalls the best of Sarah Records. Alexandra Morte’s vocals call to mind a young Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine, singing dreamily over acoustic guitars and light orchestral touches with cohort Nick Bassett. While it may not be the most original sound, Camera Shy’s eight songs are charming and sophisticated, emanating weary beauty on the rainy “Seemingly Ill” while charging through sunny environs on the jangly “Remember.” For fans of this kind of thing, Camera Shy are one of the best new bands around.

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Album Picks (146), New Albums (213), New Releases (214), Tame Impala (22), Future (8), Camera Shy (5)