Thundercat It Is What It Is Brainfeeder
Thundercat is floating in space. The beginning of It Is What It Is sees his voice come through from the far reaches of the galaxy. “Hello, is anybody there?” he sings in that trademark floating falsetto on cosmic opener Lost in Space/Great Scott/22-26 before segueing into the Afrofuturist jazz of Interstellar Love. If previous album Drunk saw Stephen Bruner strutting Earth in his own indomitable fashion – foolishly leaving his wallet at the club; playing Mortal Kombat while brooding over being caught in the friend zone – It Is What It Is connects him to the stars, the spirit of Sun Ra coming through clearer than ever before.
Don’t get it twisted: this is very much a Thundercat album. Those squelchy basslines still congeal into throwback funk knockouts – none more satisfying than Black Qualls, which features the generation-connecting line-up of Steve Arrington, Steve Lacy of The Internet and Childish Gambino. Thundercat’s delivery remains defined by a conversational style: Overseas is a horny plea to his girlfriend to join the mile high club. Yet It Is What It Is represents his most full-bodied and confident set to date. Take the wicked Unrequited Love, which manages to sound both doomed and sexy. This might be a shorter and more svelte set than Drunk, but it’s the best inventory of Thundercat’s bohemian artistry.