Toro y Moi – Anything In Return Toro y Moi – Anything In Return

Toro y Moi - Anything In Return

Toro y Moi – Anything In Return

I never ate twinkles because I was a fat kid. I didn’t get fat by eating Twinkies, and certainly had no reason to dislike them, but I wouldn’t get near them for the fear someone would make a quick association and pigeonhole me.

As evidenced by his latest work for Toro y Moi it would seem that Chaz Bundick shares my phobia of mindlessly consumed spongy things. With his new album Anything In Return Bundick has made a noticeable effort to distance himself from the microgenre of chillwave; a genre which was pioneered during the infancy of Toro y Moi.

When Bundick released Underneath the Pines, his sophomore full length for Toro, it seemed he was consciously trying to shed the atmospheric and often vaporous elements of his earlier music in favor of confronting his listeners in a more direct manner. There’s very little that’s passive about his new stuff.

For better and worse Anything In Return is a staggering and expansive musical journey. The starting quarter of this album is as frenetic as an ADD child with a handful of pixie sticks. Song’s like “Say That” get going as a bouncy interstellar jazz crossover number, and then rapidly bring in chunks of house and trance in a way that will entice you to dance rather than insist upon it.

Deeper into the album to tracks like “Grown Up Calls” start to flash like those slow-ride R&B jams, but this time Bundick is coming with two handful of funk and groove in a way that leaves us music writers using the word fusion too much. It’s an accomplishment how current this record sounds because it also feels like it would have been right at home 30 years ago with fans who dug on Shalamar’s post-disco phase.

My biggest critique of Anything In Return is the pacing and cohesiveness of the album as whole just doesn’t seem to be up to the exacting standards that each individual track establishes. Even though Bundick comes off the gas on occasion there’s no real rest and recoup, pallet cleansing cuts. The end sum is an album that’s so incredibly dense that it’s hard to wrap your mind around. The complexity of the arrangements is sure to be both a major attraction and turn off for listeners. Seemingly the album could have benefited from some moments of something, dare I say, a little more chill.

Maybe I would have enjoyed Twinkies. Maybe my fear of them has led me to over-correct irrationally. Perhaps if I had learned to only sporadically enjoy one of those Hostess treats instead of completely cutting them out of my life. And there’s the point, just because Bundick saw that his early direction with Toro y Moi could have gotten him typecast as THE chillwave artist he ran, hard and fast. While it does seem like the pacing of the album could have benefited from some of Bundick’s former brand of chillwave he seemingly has the chops to pull off this emphatic transition away from it. Anything In Return should be both lauded technically, and celebrated for what it is on its face, a fun and actively optimistic album.

1. Harm in Change
2. Say That
3. So Many Details
4. Rose Quartz
5. Touch
6. Cola
7. Studies
8. High Living
9. Grown Up Calls
10. Cake
11. Day One
12. Never Matter
13. How’s It Wrong

STREET DATE: January 22, 2013

Toro y Moi - Anything In Return, reviewed by Big Ben on 2013-01-28T04:31:27-08:00 rating 4.1 out of 5

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