With a background in punk bands, South Carolinian producer/ singer songwriter Chaz Bundick began making bedroom music under the name Toro Y Moi in 2001 and went on to pioneer the sludgy electronic sound that pre-empted chillwave. ‘What For?’ was recorded during an intermission from working on a record for his dance project Les Sins, and is a new direction for this musical adventurer, exploring lose themes of love and nature in a way that is intentionally vague and beautiful.
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A good question. A very good question indeed. At this moment in time the best thing Chaz Bundick could do would be to take a few years off and try to remember what it was that he did so well in the first place as he’s currently in the middle of a super-slump headlined ‘Diminishing Returns’.
His first two albums were full of smooth soulful pop - ‘Underneath The Pine’ in particular had me screeching the words ‘Stevie Wonder’ at anyone who would listen. But ‘Anything in Return’ made me eat my review when I realised that nothing interesting happened after the fourth track. ‘What For’ doesn’t even start well. It’s a mess from start to finish. The opening ‘What You Want’ sets the tone with ear hurting tinny production and a half-hearted ‘70’s pop song which seems to be aiming at Todd Rundgren territory. Hall and Oates are the primary influence on ‘Buffalo’ which wanders this way and that but forgets to bring in a melody. Production wise Toro Y Moi has regressed alarmingly, his early albums were warm and spacious but this sounds like a collection of demos and whereas the songs on ‘Underneath the Pine’ had incredible melodies on this one they have to battle hard to make an impact.
He really is struggling throughout and too many times relies on twiddly solos to mark time. Even when songs start promisingly they seem to quickly get lost. Chaz Bundick makes music I like but this time I feel he has fallen woefully short. Take a break lad and we’ll see you in a couple of years and pretend that this has never happened.
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