Music Reviews





Formats available: CD

Just as the sixties has proved a happy hunting ground for Jack White the seventies would seem to be a major source of inspiration for Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat. This LA based singer/bassist’s second album has a lot of familiar sounds and styles to those that appreciate the more imaginative strands of jazz/rock. Stanley Clarke would seem to be the strongest inspiration, specifically his early work but there are traces of Herbie Hancock and Clarke’s band Return to Forever. Apocalypse is an unusual work that borders on the progressive but also has a lot of soul, so Tales from Topographic Oceans it ain’t. In fact there are times when it could almost be smooth disco and the second half has a lot more appeal than the first which merely hints at what’s to come. The final tryptich A Message for Austin/Praise the Lord/Enter the Void is particularly effective. I was intrigued by Thundercat’s first album but this one seems more of a piece, it’s a rare foray into realms that few artists understand today, a carefully crafted and richly detailed work that avoids the pitfall of sounding clever for its own sake. This could well be a result of producer Flying Lotus’ (Thom Yorke, Earl Sweatshirt) involvement who Thundercat credits with making the album something that “people can actually see for what it is”. If you dig spacey bass powered grooves give this far out cat a spin.

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