After working on many other artists’ songs, California’s Thundercat, aka Stephen Bruner, presents his third solo album, Drunk.
The 23-song record begins with retro-sounding keyboards, scatty lo-fi drumming and the funny lyrics of Captain Stupido (“I feel weird, brush your beard, clean your teeth, still feel weird”), then leads into the acid-funk jazz of Uh Uh. Sparkly synths on Bus In The Streets pair nicely with a 70s funk beat, and the vinyl crackle of A Fan’s Mail adds a retro vibe.
Lava Lamp is far more chill-beat, channelling the soulful pomp of Marvin Gaye on its big chorus. Jethro leans more towards modern R’n’B, but the harmonised “oohs” keep it grounded in soul and funk.
Guests include Kendrick Lamar on Walk On By, Wiz Khalifa on Drink Dat and Pharrell Williams on The Turn Down, providing a break from Thundercat’s vocal harmonies. Blackkk heads into almost latin prog, Tokyo could have come straight from an arcade game, and Friend Zone has all the bombast of a Prince song with its squelchy bass.
With its stream-of-consciousness lyrics, Drunk plays like an blow-by-blow account of a night out, that merges into a downbeat jazz-fusion haze. But the jokes start to wear thin towards the end, making this mocktail a little hard to swallow.