Stephen ‘Thundercat’ Bruner invites us down a literal rabbit hole on Drunk opener Rabbit Ho, though if you’re unfamiliar with the bassist’s off-centre jazz you may be ill-prepared for the trip. You wouldn’t know it from his unconcerned nature and flair for the peculiar, but the guy’s a Grammy winner. The morbid sense of humour he shares with frequent collaborator Flying Lotus permeates the album – if he lingers on existentialism a few seconds too long, fret not because a fart joke or anime reference will quickly follow.
Bruner flirts with consequence but has both feet deeply soaked in the surreal. A Fan’s Mail (Tron Suite II) is worth listening to for novelty alone: a reverent homage to the lives of felines, complete with melodic meowing, it’s as wonderful as it sounds. Likewise, Tokyo crams an ungodly amount of Japanese fetishism into just under two and a half minutes, from the obvious Dragon Ball namedrops to Bruner’s preferred anime-themed restaurant in the capital city, backed by a propulsive kick drum and gluey synthesiser.
What’s even more unexpected is how funny Drunk can be. Whether he’s threatening to throw someone in a garbage can, or scornfully claiming he 'already has enough friends', Drunk is a blissful celebration of Thundercat’s own apathy. On the aptly-named Jameel’s Space Ride, Bruner’s caramel-smooth falsetto drapes over bouncy synth keys as he irreverently advises to 'miss me with that nonsense', claiming he’d rather be 'into space and into the sun' than deal with the racist cops in his neighbourhood.
These forays into reality are short-lived however, wedged between metaphysical ruminations and drunken blurs. A stoner’s wet dream, Drunk is a true oddity that meanders along for 50-plus minutes with the narrative levity of a hallucination. Patchy and unfiltered, but charming as all hell, it’s a candid reflection of its creator.
Listen to: A Fan’s Mail (Tron Suite II), Jameel’s Space Ride, Show You The Way