Thundercat
The Beyond/Where The Giants Roam


2.5
average

Review

by Tristan Jones EMERITUS
June 22nd, 2015 | 51 replies


Release Date: 06/22/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: oh. sheit.

Having contributed to blockbuster albums from Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar, prodigious bassist Stephen Bruner (aka Thundercat) has garnered more acclaim than most musicians could hope to singlehandedly. Moreover, Bruner’s solo releases have cemented him as one of the more forward-thinking artists in neo-soul. With The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam, the tone is dialled down, opting for a more chilled-out, reflective approach. Beneath much of Bruner’s music lies relatable themes celebrating life and love, while coping with losses. Thundercat has never been a showy lyricist, but where his simplistic approach might have been an access route to his comparably bizarre musicianship in past works, here they feel banal (though the reference to the Thundercats TV show at the end of opener “Hard Times” was a nice touch). Where lines like “Close your eyes/rest your head/you are dead” (on “Song for the Dead”) could provoke feelings of coming-to-terms, paired with the ho-hum musicality they feel inconsequential and dull.

“Them Changes” is the most vivid track present, overshadowing the rest of the mini-LP’s tracklist. The funky fretwork is infectious, while Bruner exclaims, “Nobody move, there’s blood on the floor/and I can’t find my heart/where did it go, did I leave it in the cold"/so please give it back, ‘cuz it’s not yours to take,” countering the upbeat rhythms. It’s an anthem of heartbroken brooding while losing oneself in the power of dance. Follow-up “Lone Wolf and Cub” (an homage to the manga of the same name) is another high point, with a more subdued groove, but nonetheless catchy vocal melodies as Bruner croons, “Wolf and cub/on your own/where will you go/what will you do,” further matching dire circumstances with a comforting atmosphere before opting for a self-indulgent solo that goes nowhere and does nothing, perhaps symbolic of how the song’s story might end - wandering in circles. “That Moment” is a soothing interlude that passes in one ear and out the other, and closer “Where the Giants Roam / Field of the Nephilim” fares little better. Thundercat never reaches the energy level of single “Them Changes”, and The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam’s dreamy textures often beg for some vigour (contributions from pianist Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Kamasi Washington help, though neither seem assertive here). It’s unfortunate that an artist with so much in his arsenal chooses to paint in watercolour - neither bold enough to excite, nor abstract enough to intrigue.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
June 22nd 2015


6686 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

streaming on spotify

probably like 2.7/5 or something.

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2015


18589 Comments


jspot review sighting !

RivalSkoomaDealer
June 22nd 2015


1628 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review Johnny! I liked it probably better than his full lengths but I can understand why a few of the tracks might ring hollow.

Digging: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Fishing For Fishies

DrJohn
June 22nd 2015


1041 Comments


thank u for not using the term jazz on this. cool review.

RivalSkoomaDealer
June 22nd 2015


1628 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't know Kamasi Washington was playing the sax on this but it makes sense since he's with Brainfeeder.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
June 22nd 2015


6686 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

ya I def prefer his full-lengths, this has its moments tho

zaruyache
June 22nd 2015


20672 Comments


THUNDER

THUNDER

THUNDERCATS HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2015


10555 Comments


I like the album cover

ComeToDaddy
June 22nd 2015


1793 Comments


This was fantastic for a short review, nice work. The rating sort of disappoints me, but as long as I can take at least one great song away from an EP I'm pretty happy. Will check “Them Changes”

Relinquished
June 22nd 2015


39632 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

unlike the album, i'm not feeling this review much

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
June 22nd 2015


6686 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

do u have any input, aside from disagreeing about the alb?

Relinquished
June 22nd 2015


39632 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm drunk dude i can't help much. but just the opening where you introduce him seems empty. the AKA needs parentheses, name a couple of the 'blockbuster albums' he's been a part of, the ST line seems awkward - 'subsequent' seems forced there too.

Relinquished
June 22nd 2015


39632 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

like bro this review needs to flow less rigid and more like river feel me?

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
June 22nd 2015


6686 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

cheers man I'll edit a bit, I was kinda questioning my opening bits so I might as well fix



update: went over it and sorted some stuff out

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2015


16115 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

my eyes crossed at the second paragraph lol. that was weird I think i'm getting old. pre neat EP imo

Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 22nd 2015


42612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

pos but neg because no

Digging: Cvd - Elsewhere Nowhere

GnarlyShillelagh
Emeritus
June 22nd 2015


6385 Comments


worst part of wesleys theory

Relinquished
June 22nd 2015


39632 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

best part you mean

Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 23rd 2015


42612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Staff user Gnarly shilehegahe confirmed for dumbass

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
June 23rd 2015


6686 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@arcade- pfft ok sun kil moon

;D



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