-Lion-O of the Thundercats,
a poet of cat-men and hero to many.
Most people will recognize Thundercat as “that one Stevie Wonder-type guy” from Flying Lotus’ excellent album from last year, Cosmogramma, on the track “MmmHmm”. Being one of the few vocalists on that album, Thundercat had his chance to stand out. The unfortunate thing about that was he had almost no other music to speak of at the time. It left a lot people who enjoyed Da ‘Cat’s (yes, I will refer to him like this for most of the review… deal wid it!) brief appearance wanting more. It’s a good thing, then, that FlyLo gave this small artist a shot at his own full length album. Co-producing the album with Da ‘Cat, FlyLo released this album on his Brainfeeder label.
As a big fan of Flying Lotus and “Mmmhmm” I am little bit biased in my view of this album. I had been anticipating this release hotly since its announcement. For those of you haven’t heard the FlyLo collaboration, it sounds like a mix of dreamy jazz, soul, and funk that seems like it would have been produced by an LSD-fried Stevie Wonder who had been lost in space and returned to Earth enlightened. Okay, so maybe that came off a little bit over the top. Granted, it is a hard sound to pinpoint. The reason I am bringing up this song so much is because Thundercat’s debut sounds very much like an extension of that sound. However, the album also throws a few curve balls. There are a lot less vocals than one might expect. The bass guitar is the true star on this record. On the album’s many instrumental tracks Thundercat’s (or possibly Flying Lotus’) bass playing shines through with undoubted funkiness. Grooving around Lotus’ spacey production the bass puts you in a hypnotic state. Highlights of the album are the New Age-y “Daylight,” instrumental “It Doesn’t Really Matter To You,” and the spacey George Duke cover “For Love I Come.” Although I mentioned highlights, this album’s true strength lies in that it is an album. This not really a singles experience and the music is best enjoyed as a whole. I got a lot of enjoyment out of this album by not skipping around or only listening to a couple songs. The latter half of the album is light on vocals but really gets into a groove, if you let it. The dreamy atmosphere is easy to get lost in. It makes me happy to hear a release that embraces the album format. It isn’t just a collection of attempted singles and I, for one, can’t wait to hear more of Dat Funky Space Cat and his special video game funk jazz.
Bottom Line: The mix of astral keyboards, light FlyLo beats, and downright funky shit found on this record makes it worth your time. If you like to relax and perhaps give into the green on occasion then this is the record for you. It is a real grower, but a must for FlyLo fans. Recommended…uh, dude.
Download: Thundercat – For Love I Come (George Duke Cover)