Laying somewhere between the eccentricities of Frank Zappa and the Hip-Hop sensibilities of Flying Lotus, comes the fast-paced, doggedly tenacious third album from Thundercat, the alias of Stephen Bruner. Sweet melodic refrains, dusty beats, incredible Jazz bass movements and a palpable disdain for anything safe or consistent, Drunk is a rich kaleidoscopic musical expression from a very neurotic mind. Short successive tracks are neither cathartic, nor do they wallow, and within them they move and modulate to the next phrase like they have ADHD, songs jumping on the next moment before it had even completed the last. Tracks skip through the album, like snippets of an inconsistent face-paced modernity offering little glimpses of just living a life through lyrics that wallow and flourishes in the mundane.
Even guest appearances by Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Wiz Khalifa, Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell Williams are fleeting moments that feel like their merely stopping by for a brief interlude, from their own mundanity. In many ways the album title expresses perfectly the music within as the incoherent and inconsistent ramblings of an intoxicated mind at the cusp of a new phase. Bruner’s musicianship really comes to the fore; bass figures swaying while walking through Jazz and Funk, a harmonising falsetto vocal smoothing over sporadic rhythms, and contrapuntal elements meshing over each other like a splatter painting finding form only when you stare at it long enough. Pop-cultural references juxtaposing serious socio-political commentary, Thundercat’s lyrical fixations contrast the glimmer and glitz of the music for moments of personal reflection in a diorama of a modern life.
It makes for a fun combination, one which is engaging on many different levels as if Prince collaborated with Sun Ra, Miles Davis and Tyler the Creator. It all informs Thundercat, but nothing quiet comes close to a simile when tryting to put this latest album into one sentence and all that’s left is just to listen to it.