Now this is an interesting album! Stephen Burner, aka Thundercat, is a bassman who played with Kendrick Lamar on his acclaimed album “To Pinp a Butterfly” and with the punk band Suicidal Tendencies, on top of producing three albums of his own. His most recent, “Drunk”, made the “top albums of 2017” lists of major magazines in December. And I agree! (Here’s my Top 30 of 2017, BTW).

“Drunk” is an excellent and surprising record. It’s a great blend of many genres: there’s pure R’n’Pop, like on Walk On By, where Burner’s voice is as soft and pure as Philip Bailey’s in Earth Wind and Fire. But there’s an offbeat feeling on these “pop” songs that keeps the interest high. Burner’s bass playing is really close to jazz fusion bands of the 80s and 90s. On songs such as Blackkk, it’s high flying in the jazz virtuoso fields that we’re riding!

 

Friend Zone is a funkier song, but still has this little kind of weirdness that makes it sound closer to Raz Ohara’s music than Parliament’s. The most accessible song is called A Fan’s Mail and watch out, it features the singer doing miaw miaw’s as he’s “gonna be a cat”! Again, Thundercat pulls it off with a tremendously cool bass line.

Some moments feel a little bit cheezy, with The Weeknd-ish singing, but there’s a tongue-in-cheek overall impression that keeps songs like Show You The Way on the good side of things. Bus on the Street is an even softer pop song, but again, there’s something special about that song that makes the little keyboard blimps sound right. He’s got that kind of magic!

 

On the title track of his third album, Thundercat blends spaced-out bass sounds with soft vocals and simple drum beat that makes the whole thing sound like the improbable mix of Mr Bungle and TV on the Radio… Yeah, try to imagine that!

Stephen Burner started to play music at a very young age and by 15, he already had a minor hit as a member of the boy band No Curfew. As a cession musician, he played for Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus and hip hop sensation Kendrick Lamar.

THUNDERCAT drunk

THUNDERCAT
Drunk
(Brainfeeder, 2017)

-Genre: jazz funk hip hop fusion
-In the same style as Raz Ohara, Prince, Mr Bungle

Buy the album on Google Play
Follow the artist via his Facebook page
Listen to videos on the label’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.