Favorite track: Lone Wolf and Cub
This is one of my favorite Thundercat projects, despite the fact that it's such a short listen. It only comes in at 16 minutes and 4 seconds, which is surprisingly short even for an EP.
If you're aware of some of Thundercat's other work, or even his general media presence, you might not completely expect what's going on with this record. The first song someone I know might mention when I bring him up is Dragonball Durag, that silly little single off It Is What It Is. However, his most impressive works are much more cerebral - with this little EP being a shining example of what Thundercat is capable of.
The lyrics on this album give off a very listless and lost vibe and focus a lot on death. You can kinda get that just off part of the album title - "The Beyond". This album seemingly follows the story of a man's journey in the afterlife, with a few interjected themes of heartbreak/loneliness in Them Changes and Lone Wolf and Cub. You can tell his inspiration probably came from other projects he was working on at the time of The Beyond's conception (i.e. You're Dead! by Flying Lotus and To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar). The only track that really stands out on here is Them Changes, which is a bit more upbeat (which makes sense since it was a single), but still manages to give a short interlude from the heavier, moodier songs.
The instrumentation perfectly compliments the depressive/existential feeling the lyrics give off. Thundercat's bass playing is the star of the show here, obviously. I love the way he'll slowly climb up a scale and gently go back down on Song for the Dead. The progression he's got going on Lone Wolf and Cub goes along perfectly with his singing, as well. Thundercat's voice has some heavy reverb on it that really gently blends with the music. Honorable mention goes to the keyboard, which is suuuper dreamy and soft.
Overall, The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam is a really beautiful album that you should really take a listen to. Frankly, you don't have much excuse not to - it's only 16 minutes long.