Toro Y Moi What For? Carpark Records
On first listen, Chaz Bundick’s latest seems laced with that familiar, lackadaisical Toro Y Moi feel. But under closer examination, What For?’s status as a creative sidestep makes itself known
For starters, there’s nary a sniff of a drum machine or warped funk sample; the composite parts of the songwriting feel far more complex. 70s psychedelia is the obvious focal point, aided by the growling guitar tones of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Neilson. But this is undoubtedly still a pop record, like the ones which came before, and some of the hooks err towards the saccharine. Lead single Empty Nesters, for example, has its tongue permanently embedded in cheek for the entirety, with lines like “let’s try and make another hit for the teens, woo!” a tad too heavy-handed on the self-aware nostalgia.
Later on, tracks like Half Dome and Yeah Right take themselves a little more seriously, and are more communicable as a result. As usual, Chaz’s lyrics are deliberately naïve, treading dangerously close to corny, but the musical arrangements and faultless production carry you through. And Toro Y Moi’s ability to pull that range of tricks off in yet another relevant sonic context is pretty impressive.