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Album Review
Anything In Return

Anything In Return
by Toro Y Moi


Review Date
8th February 2013
Reviewed by
Christopher Hunt

Anything in Return brings together almost everything Toro y Moi has released up to now: the it has the swirling ‘chillwave’ synths of Causers of This, the laidback and woody bass lines of Underneath The Pine, as well has disco-funk beats of Freaking Out EP. It coagulates Toro y Moi as both an effortlessly immaculate songwriter and a gifted producer.

For an album so smooth and silky, Anything In Return opens with a series of unseemly tribal drum beats and industrial soundbites. The strange noise quickly blends into a jazz chord progression of ‘Harm In Change’ (a progression very similar to Pharrell-produced-era Justin Timberlake) as the track builds layer upon layer before Toro y Moi’s whispy lyrics emerge to the listener. It’s a very impressive opener that sets a high standard for the rest of the album. The bar gets lifted even higher by the time second track, ‘Say That’, begins to play. Again, it’s a very simple two chord jazz progression that is the basis of the song, and it sounds amazing.

As we begin to decipher the lyrics, it becomes apparent that this album is “about someone”, or more specifically, “about some girl”. Whether it’s a metaphorical or literal girl, almost every song contains the “she” or the “her” word. ‘Say That’ appears to be a tale of a recent breakup and all the uncertainty that comes with such an event: “She’s alright, I’m alright / We’re alright, we can’t go back / Sat that you’ll always remind me / Cause I can’t decide if you are my love”. Lead single ‘So Many Details’, also carries this theme of relationship doubt: “What did happen to the time we had / Of when you said you’ll never/  You’ll never regret / What happened to us”. It’s an incredibly groovy song with huge and heavy drum beats, and a near perfect sweeping synth hook rendering it as what could probably be the most seductive song of 2013.

‘Rose Quartz’ and ‘Touch’ are two sample-heavy songs seeing Toro borrow from his more chilled musical arsenal. ‘Touch’, especially, soothes the listener with what could be best described as “indie-night-cap” music that could be appreciated by any demographic of the world’s population.

Toro decides to change it up midway through the album with ‘Studies’, a very vintage and organic sounding jam with a very strange song structure. With 70’s keyboards and mid-driven bass lines, the song is very reminiscent of Supertramp or Steely Dan with it’s clean guitar licks throughout the track. It’s a nice song filled with a plethora of hooks that could very well be identified with the vintage sound of Underneath The Pine. This retro sounds is extended into blasé jam, ‘High Living’ before Toro brings back the funk for ‘Grown Up Calls’ which is a real little pop gem that effortlessly eases your ears with it’s too-cool-for-school swag that’ll get any head bobbing.

While the album sees Toro y Moi mainly picking pieces from his previous work, it’s yet another significant leap for the young musician.  People are starting to take notice and attentions are beginning to be held when referring to him. He’s proved he is not another flash-in-the pan trend hopper. Instead, Anything in Return shows that he is capable of effortlessly merging genres and production techniques. I sense that he is one MTV collaboration away from exploding into wherever he wants get to. Only time will tell as to how far Toro will go, but wherever he goes to next, he’s already produced enough material to cement himself as a true artist and a worthy Pharrell Williams equivalent of the Indie music world.



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