Toro y Moi – What For? //
After Toro y Moi performed in SF a couple a weekends ago, the question was asked, “Is Toro y Moi now a man or a band?” Surely this is Chaz Bundick’s vehicle, but a greater emphasis has now been put on a collective rock sound. What’s been most interesting so far about Toro y Moi is the outfit’s rapid evolution. Bundick morphs his sonic center-point about every two years; first he was the Godfather of the chillwave movement, then he moved onto a dance aesthetic — now he’s pivoted once again…
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BAM TEAM RATING:
Coming off a recent project near the end of 2014 under the electronic pseudonym Les Sins, Chaz Bundick has shown that his style as an artist cannot be contained to a single genre. What For? is a throwback — a poppy, fun, yet short break from his four-on-the-floor production style of last year. Coming in at 36 minutes, the album leaves much to be desired but nonetheless shows a wide array of skills in creating a sound that stays in tune with, yet expands upon, previous work under the Toro y Moi brand. As summer in San Francisco approaches, you can bet you’ll hear this album booming from Bluetooth speakers by Dolores Park frequenters as they enjoy the sunshine. -Brett Ruffenach
3 BAMS // Top Song: “The Flight”
When you listen to Toro y Moi’s latest creation — in this case, their fourth full-length album What For? — it’s hard not think about how much Tame Impala Chaz Bundick has been listening to in his spare time. From the opening track “What You Want” through the record’s first single “Empty Nesters” and beyond, it’s almost undeniable how close some of Bundick’s music now sounds to Kevin Parker’s. Had Parker and Tame Impala not been occupying a similar space in contemporary rock ‘n’ roll already, it might be easier to see Bundick’s new work in a different light. That’s not to say all of What For? is simply a replica, of course. There are still some moments where Bundick’s songwriting shines, whether it’s the disco-funk party that comes to life on “Spell It Out” or the slick 70’s guitar riffs that surface midway through the ensuing “Half Dome,” but they aren’t quite as frequent when comparing this effort to the group’s 2013 success Anything in Return. -Josh Herwitt
3 BAMS // Top Song: “Spell It Out”
Chaz Bundick launches his fourth album in a summery flash back to the 70’s psychedelic mood and careless 90’s rock disposition. The album opens with the sound of racecars flying down a steamy track and brings to mind a life of leisure as he sings, “I can get you what you want.” The next track, “Buffalo”, recalls “Charlie’s Angels”-like smoothness and David Bowie narration with “Cause you love it all / And you’ll find a way / To keep on.” Suburban detachment can be found in the song “Ratcliff”, which is about a doctor, canceled meetings, cookie cutter housing, and a life that is too simple. The song “Lilly” really gets down with some psychedelic guitar, reverb and that woman who just has it. In all, it’s the perfect summer album with all the psychedelic guitar riffs and lazy lyrical innuendos. -Bridget Stagnitto
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: “The Flight”
In 2013, I named Anything in Return as my album of the year. Now, two years later, Toro y Moi has released the next in a line of funky-fresh, neo-disco records, this time with What For?. Does it live up to the previous effort? Not quite, but it isn’t too far off either. This album is terrific, though a little on the short side, clocking in at a mere 36 minutes over 10 songs. Paying homage to 70’s funk and 80’s disco while layering synthesizers has always been a trademark sound of Toro y Moi, and not much has changed with What For? Dig deep into this album, and you will hear pearls of auditory pleasure sprinkled throughout through the use of vintage gear, analog synths and a dozen different guitars. I’d love to see a gear list for instruments used on this record — my feeling is that it’s fairly extensive. This album satisfies the craving I’ve been having for more Toro y Moi music, and there’s no doubt this will get a lot spins this year. -Kevin Raos
3.5 BAMS // Top Song: “Empty Nesters”
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