January 24, 2017

Will Schube’s only reference point is “The Chain.”

It’s a family affair. While Sly & the family introduced us to the concept back in ‘71, The Bruner brothers have taken the torch and are running headlong into pummeling drums and soaring harmonies. You know Thundercat. The bassist slash virtuosic astral medium has been changing the way we see the four-stringed rhythm instrument for some time, but his brother, drummer Ronald Bruner Jr., has quietly been the backbone (and beat) for your favorite records, most recently re-invigorating jazz with Kamasi Washington for his game changing LP, The Epic. Bruner Jr. is finally stepping out from behind his kit while staying firmly entrenched on his drum throne. Bruner will be releasing Triumph on March 3rd via Alpha Pup subsidiary World Galaxy.

The album’s first single, “Take the Time,” features the drummer’s brother on bass. The two explode through double-time breakdowns and metalhead blast beats. Bruner’s voice is of the classic soul tradition, floating platitudes of determination and motivation. He sings, “And even when your mind says no your heart will tell you what you should do.” The lyrics may speak in generalities, but the composition is breathtakingly original—in a way only a Bruner could achieve. Whereas most Thundercat collaborators let the bass player run wild up and down the fretboard, Bruner Jr. harnesses his brother’s wilder tendencies, using his playing as an underscore to “The Chain” style tambourine shakes and scorching drum solos. But as expected, the drums lead the charge. The Bruner brothers have a unique habit of turning their oft-overlooked instruments of choice into band leading haymakers. “Take the Time” is no different, yet different from anything you’ve ever heard. Great brothers play alike.