Day 10 of the #mayvinylchallenge is your favorite 10″, and that guideline makes it pretty easy for me, since I have only one 10″ in my record collection. It’s a doozy, though: the third full length from the Space Ace of Bass, Thundercat. Although I had heard his distinctive style of playing on projects from Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar, and even Suicidal Tendencies, Drunk was my first exposure to the man as a solo artist and composer, and it was on of those pivotal “aha!” discoveries on my musical journey.
I wrote about the album for Nine Circles of all places back when Drunk first came out, and the words then ring true now, so why now plagiarize myself a bit?
My first thoughts as soon as intro “Rabbot Ho” launched into “Captain Stupido” was Todd Rundgren, who in both his Utopia and solo projects could simultaneously evoke lite FM and progressive rock/fusion in a way that was sublime. Hearing this in 2017 was a shock to the system, and the shock continued with “Uh Uh” which takes the melody from the previous song and launches it into space as a monster instrumental where Bruner’s bass accentuates and purrs around every chord change. It’s so good and feels so effortless I can imagine bass players everywhere just throwing their instruments down and walking away: it’s over. But hey! Two minutes later we’re back in Rundgren territory with “Bus in These Streets” and mixed in with the lovely harmonies is an insightful look at how technology is crippling us at the time when we need instant access to information more than ever. The flex back and forth between soft rock, incredible instrumental chops and beautiful melodies continues throughout Drunk – there’s even a song featuring 80s stalwarts Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. And it’s great. You also get contributions from Lamar, Wiz Khalifa and Pharrell that bring modern mix to the classic tones Thundercat is doling out.
I’ll add from a pure vinyl perspective the packaging is lovely, and sounds incredible. The fact that it’s spread over 4 records though means I’m usually inclined to stream the album (gasp!) rather play the physical format more often than not.