Toro Y Moi - Anything In Return

This is unlike anything Chaz, or his chillwave contemporaries, have ever even nudged toward before.

Label: Carpark

Rating: 7

Toro Y Moi has taken the well-driven road of bedroom hobbyist to studio artist. And he’s not embarrassed, in fact Chaz Bundick is flaunting it with a declaration called ‘Anything In Return’. It’s not contrived reinvention, but natural progression; this is Toro does pop, not pop does Toro.

Despite being more immediate than previous work, ‘Anything In Return’ maintains Chaz’s longevity and craftsmanship. The typically dense soundscapes of his music are still intact, with each additional listen unlocking a deft synth-lick or subtle sample. There are simple affairs like ‘Rose Quartz’, a song with ‘I feel weak’ as its prominent lyric, but which interestingly, contradicts the track’s dominant strobe-sounding, swampy synth line. ‘Touch’ is less entertaining as a standalone song, but a necessary, two-minute lull. ‘Studies’ possesses one of the more broodingly danceable bass lines on the record, as well as one of the most effortless melodies. Yet songs like ‘High Living’ and ‘Grown Up Calls’ are more underwhelming than understated, and could’ve done with eviction. 

But of all the songs, ‘Cake’ is without doubt the most stark. Basically, it’s as titularly sugary as it is musically. And, hyperbole aside, this could legitimately be a number one – and not just in Estonia. It’s Bieber-fied and completely sure of itself. The intent is there and so too is the execution, benefiting hugely from a chart-ambitious attitude. It’s unlike anything Chaz, or his chillwave contemporaries, have ever even nudged toward before. 

The most redeeming quality of ’Anything In Return’ is how absolutely natural it feels. Toro Y Moi maintains what made his music so endearing. He has always been sweet, sensual, and personal. But the same songs you listened to alone still inspired some dancing feet in a live setting. In summation, ’Anything In Return’ is an album applicable to plenty of palettes.