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Album Review
What For?

What For?
by Toro y Moi

Carpark Records

Review Date
2 July 2015
Reviewed by
Max Walker

When Chaz Bundick (better known by his alias Toro y Moi) first caught widespread attention during 2010, he was always associated with the movement dubbed by many as ‘chillwave’. The early work of artists like Washed Out and Neon Indian did share certain aesthetics with Bundick’s debut Causers Of This - focusing on lush soundscapes, sampling and dream-like vocals. However, since then the South Carolina native has made it his mission to wriggle out of this sub-genre.

His sophomore album Underneath The Pine (2011) had elements of disco and house, while 2013's follow-up record Anything In Return went down more a soul and RnB path. A simple reading of his latest album could be that it might be his attempt at a ‘college rock’ record, which is true to some degree. Right from the opener ‘What Do You Want?’ guitars are at the forefront of most tracks, with Bundick usually sounding like he’s fronting a four-piece garage outfit. But, given his ear for intricate arrangements and crisp production, the music still sounds explicably like Toro y Moi.

The jaunty ‘Empty Nesters’ recalls early Weezer, albeit with flecks of synth whilst ‘Run Baby Run’ wouldn’t sound out of place on a Real Estate record. Album highlight ‘Spell It Out’ features a simple funk guitar rhythm and a shredding 80s solo midway through. Without compromising his back catalogue, What For? confirms Bundick as an intriguing yet tasteful musical chameleon.


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