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Toro y Moi Anything in Return Review

Album. Released 2013.  

BBC Review

Both a continuation and extension of this artist's previous offerings.

Luke Slater 2013

Toro y Moi, alias South Carolina’s Chaz Bundick, has built his reputation through producing punchy and beat-heavy music, suitably fronted by his own voice. Chillwave is a label often thrown at him, but his music is often more complex than much of what falls under that banner.

The music found on his third studio album, Anything in Return, is not grandly different to what preceded it; but there is a harder edge here which is more constant than on previous releases. Beats are larger, the melodies more prominent, and as a whole it serves as both a continuation and extension of the upbeat sounds heard on 2011’s Freaking Out EP.

Throughout, these compositions are solidly assured creations. Thirteen tracks is perhaps on the long side, but there is the feeling that Bundick would not have left anything in which could have been cut, and each track adds to the record’s sparkly and glittering aesthetic.  

The atmosphere can be intense, but there are moments that break the density and pace, and these are what ultimately make Anything in Return so enjoyable. Touch is a lethargic stroll, with Bundick in probably his most mellow mood of the album. The following Cola is similarly easy-going, before the clout is dialled-up for the record’s final third.

Cake is the most outright pop-oriented track – and it has a lot of competition in this category. It features finger-click beats and a brilliant, shining melody backed by repeated vocal echoes of “uh-huh”, which appear throughout the album. The glitzy Never Matter has a vibe perhaps best described as 90s RnB meets 00s dream-pop, and packs many a powerful punch.

Anything in Return is, in short, an energetic mixture of dirty pop and hip hop beats, laden with often-ebullient high-end melodies. Though Bundick’s smooth vocals can dominate when they appear, the timely breaks and instrumental details are never lost. Here, Toro y Moi goes longer and harder than before, and the results represent an accentuation of the elements which appealed in his prior work.

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