Arts

Album reviews: Third Tame Impala LP's a corker

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. Synths come to the forefront on new album Currents

Tame Impala

Currents

AUSTRALIAN psychedelic rockers Tame Impala have returned with their third long-player and it's a corker. The band is very much the brainchild of Kevin Parker – and on this album, nothing's different; it was written, recorded and produced by the 29-year-old musician.

So what's changed from 2010's Innerspeaker and their 2012 follow-up Lonerism? Well, for a start, guitars take a back seat and synths come to the forefront. However, like the previous two albums, the music highlights how Parker is very much a master of his art.

This may be an album filled with tales of heartbreak, but the reverb-heavy tunes almost float on by with an ethereal quality. On Eventually he sings, 'I know I always said that I could never hurt you/ Well this is the very, very last time I'm ever going to', while you might associate the lyrics with being dumped and crying in your bedroom, the music instead whisks you off to a peaceful, summer-filled scene.

Even when he changes tact they still maintain this quality, The Less I Know The Better is disco like in production yet still sounds airy. Reality In Motion, and opener Let It Happen, are album highlights.

FOUR STARS

Polly Weeks

Ratatat

Magnifique

THE fifth full-length release from the Brooklyn-based instrumental duo displays no signs of Ratatat going stale after 14 years together.

From start to finish, Evan Mast and Mike Stroud's unique approach to electronic music is displayed in all its glory, never once becoming boring or predictable. This album is a beautiful piece of work, at times conjuring up the thought that if Beethoven made symphonies for nightclubs, this is what it might sound like.

Using mostly electric guitars and synthesisers, Ratatat's complex, intricate instrumentals border on being a very modern take on classical music. Without a doubt, Magnifique lives up to its name and is the pair's best work since 2006's Classics.

FOUR STARS

Lewis Young

The Chemical Brothers

Born in the Echoes

DANCE music survivors Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have been together more than 20 years as the Chemical Brothers. When they arrived they were a world away from guitar-friendly Britpop but their mix of psychedelia, hip hop and block-rockin' beats seems out of step with the current EDM takeover from Calvin Harris and crew.

The duo's last album, 2010's Further, was full of extended dancefloor anthems, segued like a DJ set. Born In The Echoes, their eighth studio album, is not as harmonious, jumping between pop, acid house and sci-fi ambience, but it does have stand-out moments as good as anything they've done before, such as the panting, pared-down urgency of Go with rapper Q Tip and Taste Of Honey, which has a bee taking the lead groove, buzzing between the speakers.

The Chemical Brothers have always known how to collaborate and who with. As well as Q Tip, they team up with St Vincent, who adds her art rock stylings to Under Neon Lights and Cate Le Bon, who floats over the blissed-out title track. Best of all though, is Wide Open, where Beck laments about love and loss, before letting Simons and Rowlands take over with avalanches of euphoric electronic noise.

FOUR STARS

Mark Edwards

Andrea Faustini

Kelly

ITALIAN student Andrea Faustini quit university in Rome to enter the 2014 series of ITV's The X Factor. The gamble paid off, as he finished third following winner Ben Haenow and runner-up Fleur East.

The 21-year-old pug-loving singer, who was mentored by Mel B, showed off his impressive vocals on songs such as Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing, Motown favourite Who's Lovin' You and And I Am Telling You from Dreamgirls.

Surprise surprise, only one of those, Houston's I Didn't Know My Own Strength, makes it on his debut album – instead, there are eight original songs and an Italian-language track, Lascia Tutto Cosi. The whole album, which was recorded in Los Angeles, is a pleasant wonder, with no tracks letting Faustini down.

The sentimental opener It'll All End In Tears, ballads You Pulled Me Through, the stripped-down Back To The Sea, the poppy title track and the sultry What Would Dusty Do are particular highlights.

THREE STARS

Shereen Low

Nick Jonas

Nick Jonas

NICK Jonas is irritating, with his perfect cheekbones, sculpted abs and his stupidly catchy album. This is his second self-titled debut (previously there was 2005's Nicholas Jonas) and the 22-year-old is eager to please – something he definitely manages to do.

So while this album doesn't have the most imaginative music, production hasn't quite ironed out all the character with some nice electro riffs and weird jazz touches, the third Jonas brother can sound like an autotuned parrot, he does have silkily strong voice, keeping every song lively.

More bad news for the anti-Jonas crowd: there's at least three more single-worthy pop songs here (Take Over will stick in your head) so he won't be off the radio for a while. This said, one thing Jonas doesn't know is when enough is enough, like with the super schlocky Avalanche featuring Demi Lovato, or the treacly Nothing Would Be Better. While Jonas hasn't quite managed to break out of the Star Music Product category, this album is one step to getting there.

FOUR STARS

Tobias Chapple

Nervo

Collateral

AUSTRALIAN DJ duo Nervo are possibly one of the most successful twosomes you've probably never heard of. Twin sisters Miriam and Olivia Nervo have been the sound behind tracks by David Guetta, Kylie Minogue, Ke$ha and Nicole Scherzinger amongst others.

Rather than writing, singing on or remixing tracks for others, the siblings have focused on putting their own album together, where they have used their star power to collaborate with artists such as DEV, Azealia Banks, Jake Shears, Kylie Minogue and Nile Rodgers.

Grasping summer by the hand, The Other Boys, with Shears, Minogue and Rodgers, is a catchy disco number while Did We Forget – featuring Amba Shepherd – has the opportunity to turn into the tune of the summer and a party favourite, with its rousing anthemic tone and rhythmic beat.

FOUR STARS

Rachel Howdle

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