Like his debut LP, The Golden Age Of Apocalypse, Thundercat's sophomore effort blends funk, IDM, jazz and soul, punctuated by his throwback falsetto. Built on its predecessor's foundation, Apocalypse is an even brighter incarnation of a new sound.
You can imagine Thundercat, aka Stephen Bruner, as a kindergartner, new to bass-playing, lying in ThunderCats cartoon bedding in the 1980s, dreaming up the musical future. Then, after growing up and not quite finding it, busting conventions to pave his own lane.
Anchoring Apocalypse through trippy laptop effects, astounding drum sequences, faraway dreamlike vocals and earnest, off-the-cuff, unstructured lyrics is Thundercat's world-class bass playing. (See Seven for 98 seconds of gobsmacking musicianship before a burst of staccato singing segues immaculately into current single Oh Sheit It's X.)
Flying Lotus, the album's executive producer, Brainfeeder honcho and Thundercat's partner in crime, co-wrote and -produced Heartbreaks + Setbacks. Here - as on Oh Sheit - Bruner breaks out of pitch-perfect falsetto and into full-blown soulful singing à la Marvin Gaye or Frank Ocean. If neither the lyrics nor bass lines break your heart, you might not have one.
Top track: Heartbreaks + Setbacks