Toro y Moi: What For? (Carpark) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Toro y Moi

What For?


Apr 07, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Chaz Bundick, the recording artist whose music most often bears the name Toro y Moi, is a busy chameleon of a producer. Including last year’s dance album Michael, released as Les Sins, he’s made five albums since 2010. Each one is usually accompanied by some ambitious change in aesthetic. Now that we have What For?, which sounds like a cross between Tame Impala and Mac DeMarco, it’s hard not to see Michael as Bundick relegating his electronic leanings to a side project. What For? is a bright, sunny chunk of laid-back indie pop; it’s Bundick’s heaviest use of organic instruments, and it’s the best thing he’s done in a few years.

For what it’s worth, Bundick’s songwriting still suffers from some of the problems that plagued him on 2013’s Everything in Return. Most noticeable is that his melodies, while soulful in their own way, don’t stick much. His vocals have a limited range; one often wishes he’d explore the lower register a bit. These quibbles don’t matter much, though, because Bundick is a guru of texture. The best bits of his electronic music rely on layers of subtle, synthy touches, and he has translated that mastery of texture into guitar-based songs that buzz with woozy atmosphere.

What For? contains contributions from Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Neilson and multi-instrumentalist Julian Lynch, and appropriately, it sounds like a group affair. This is a good thing. The 10 tracks here portend good things for Toro y Moi, especially melodic tunes like “Lily” and closing jam “Yeah Right.” It’s easy to see Chaz Bundick carrying the torch for Beck-he’s a versatile composer and producer who has no fear of exploring all the corners of alternative music.


Author rating: 7/10

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