In the four years since Stephen Bruner (aka Thundercat), released his last long-player, Apocalypse, he’s become an in-demand session bass player, guesting on over a dozen albums including already-classics such as Flying Lotus’s You’re Dead!, Kamasi Washington’s The Epic and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. On his latest album, Drunk, Bruner has expertly used these hustling years to grow his ever-advancing craft, allowing freewheeling collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, Pharrell, Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins to come off impeccably and seamlessly woven from the same sonic cloth.
Although his past few releases have parenthetically employed guest musicians, Drunk finds Bruner bringing many of these collaborations front and centre, as he seemingly absorbs their unique personalities, giving the listener some of the most varied, inventive and enjoyable Thundercat material to date. Despite the fact that the L.A. multi-instrumentalist prefers to keep his creations short and compact (cramming in 23 tracks in 50 minutes), Bruner manages to maintain a constant groove while cycling through novel ideas, never leaning too hard on his trademark bass noodling.
Much of the album — including the IDM-jazzers “Uh Uh” and “Blackkk,” the soft rock-tinted “Lava Lamp” and “Show You the Way” and the loose lyrics of “Tokyo” and “Drunk” — sounds extremely focused and pensive. No matter how many musicians he showcases, no matter how many sonic avenues he takes, no matter how many tracks he squeezes in, Thundercat sounds undeniably and defiantly like no other on Drunk. (Brainfeeder)