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Boomkat Product Review:
‘It Is What It Is’ follows up one of the past decade’s biggest jazz albums, ‘Drunk’ with a deliriously wide-angled sound spanning a rainbow of jazz fusion vibes from psych to soul, funk and cosmic synths.
Thundercat’s new album feels far more coiled and ready to pounce than the sprawling, proggy maze of ‘Drunk’ that ended up on so many EOY lists in 2017. It’s a properly groove-driven affair this time, switching up the percussion as much as his chord and key changes across 15 tight tunes exemplified by the likes of his colourful flight ‘I Love Louis Cole’ and the album version of his single cut, ‘Black Quails’ starring ‘80s funk and soul legends Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington, and exclusive vocal by Childish Gambino.
The all-too-short but rampant bass fretting in ‘How Sway’ nods firmly to Squarepusher, and ‘Funny Thing’ feels like a squashed Prince offcut. Packed in with sweeter downstrokes such as ‘King of The Hill’ and the R&B blush of ‘Fair Chance’ featuring Lil B and Ty Dolla $ign, ‘It Is What It Is’ strikes us as a satisfyingly concise listen that doesn’t outstay its welcome.