by Anders Newgard
The second you throw on Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner’s new record “Drunk,” you’ll be greeted by a familiar falsetto voice that sounds like it’s echoing throughout a chamber of dreams. “Drunk” opens with the track “Rabbit Ho” which takes on a similar ambience from the intro track to his 2015 EP “The Beyond/ Where the Giants Roam.” It sets the stage beautifully for Thundercat’s brand of fusion, which incorporates the likes of many walks of jazz, soul, R&B, and funk, just to name a few. The first words uttered on the record are “When it rains it pours”... oh baby was this man not lying. “Rabbit Ho’s” rainy, foggy scape clears, and the incredibly endearing charm of Thundercat starts to shines through. He beckons and repeats “I feel weird” on “Captain Stupido” before an insane level of musicianship and creativity begins to pour down like HAIL. Complex jazzy scales and chord changes, irregular time signatures, intertwined polyrhythms, and a variety of other insane music-nosh lends itself to how awesome and fantastic of a musician thundercat truly is. The raining down of fierce musicality ensues with the next track, “Uh Uh”, which is practically Thundercat freestyling on a bass for 2 minutes.
Except I mean to say he’s freestyling as if he were a rapper creating a verse on the spot. There’s no disconnect between this man’s brain and his bass. His bass is his mouth, and he’s singin’ the lead melody, baby.
Thundercat’s “Drunk” varies super tastefully throughout the record’s entirety. From the fusion of 80’s high school slow dance vibes with a steady R&B groove in “Show You the Way” to the melancholy stylings of “Walk On By” (featuring a super contemplative verse from the modern rap icon Kendrick Lamar), Stephen Bruner fully showcases the spectrum of his musically creative mind. This record speaks to me personally. I've always wanted to write a song made out of nothing but cat meows... Thundercat beat me to it (A Fan's Mail (Tron Song Suite II). The record’s painted with velvety melodies that make someone want to skip, hop, jump, and heck, even dance.
But don’t be fooled, the falsetto harmonies of Thundercat occasionally contrat heavily with the ambience, and you might find yourself restarting a song to catch a lyric. From start to finish, “Drunk” will absolutely take you on a wild’n’crazy ride. If you’re lookin to groove, and I mean GROOVE, pick this bad boy up. But if your lookin’ to sit and be pensive and reflective, still, pick this bad boy up.