Stephen Bruner, known by his stage name Thundercat, is an American multi-genre bass guitarist, producer and singer from Los Angeles, California. He is probably best known for being one of the creative masterminds on Kendrick Lemar’s 2o15 album, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’. A project which earned him a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. His third solo album Drunk combines absorbing originality with the downright weird.
The album kicks off with the latter; a borderline psychedelic intro called ‘Rabbit Ho’ which lasts just over 30 seconds. This is then followed by the man himself saying that “[He feels] weird” on ‘Captain Stupido’ before randomly singing “Comb your beard” and “Brush your teeth” in each of the listener’s ears respectively. This prompts a chuckle as well as a feeling of uncertainty.
Given Drunk boasts a song quantity of 23 tracks, it feels longer than it’s run time of 50 minutes.
The album is experimental to say the least. Jazz, soul, hip-hop and electronica taking turns to drive the various compositions. All of which feature Thundercat’s bass-playing prowess. This includes augmenting the deep soulful tones of ‘Show You The Way’ which features songwriting legends Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins. Elsewhere he goes frantic and jazzy on ‘Uh Uh’ and the funky ‘Tokyo’ on which he also proclaims his love for 90s anime TV series Dragonball Z.*
It’s wonderfully creative and entertaining right to the very end.
Given Drunk boasts a song quantity of 23 tracks, it feels longer than it’s run time of 50 minutes. Only on the collaborations and a couple of his solo pieces does he exceed the 3-minute mark. His buddy Kendrick Lemar shows up on ‘Walk On By’ while Wiz Khalifa raps about the dark side of excess on ‘Drink Dat’. Pharrell also drops by to add some ethereal vocals to the dark and dizzying production of ‘The Turn Down’. I preferred it when he was just telling us to be happy.
At times, Drunk, feels like a collection of snippets or ideas for songs, left unfinished and interspersed with tracks which are more “complete”. However, it’s wonderfully creative and entertaining right to the very end.
* A series which also had me glued to the screen as a young lad
By Will Hunt
A delicious cocktail of genres
A plethora of ideas, some of which seem half-finished