Chillwave, glo-fi, GorillaVsBearCore, whatever you want to call it, seems to cause a bit of a stir in the indie community. So people like it, other people would rather gouge their eyes out with a rusty spoon. And the (very) rare rational individual can actually separate the bad from the good. Toro y Moi errs towards the good end. While Causers of This has its moments where it falls flat, on a whole it’s a good album and a promising debut.
Causers of This sees Chaz Bundick (awesome name) shed the lo-fi leanings of his earlier demos. This gives him more room to work with. Instead of trying to confine his songs to work with tape hiss, he can explore different areas – “Imprint After” is a cross between a jazz track and some disco, “Lissoms” evokes some Discovery-era Daft Punk. Even with that, he doesn’t stray too far from chillwave’s basics Most songs still inhabit the intersection of relaxed and high that most chillwave inhabits. And Toro Y Moi does their chillwave well. “Blessa” is a pretty damn hot track, as is “Minors”. It can lead to a lot of the songs sounding the same, but when the same is pretty good, who can blame him?
Toro Y Moi takes a more turntablist DJ stance than most other chillwave artists. When done well, this adds a unique and dynamic quality to the songs. “Blessa” is made by the way the backing drops in and out, and how Bundick tweaks his own vocals. “Thanks Vision” has a weird stutter about it from the way the song keeps dropping out that’s pretty cool. But on other songs, this can become really annoying. Take the title track, who’s annoyingly repetitive samples leave a bad taste in your mouth. Or take “Fax Shadow,” which sounds like two songs competing against each other. It’s a mess. There’s no continuity to the song whatsoever. An English major could maybe argue that this structure, along with Bundick singing“I’m sorry I couldn’t name the color of your eyes,” could be a way of getting across a disconnect between Bundick and the subject of the song, reflected in the structure. But that can’t excuse that it sounds terrible.
The album is a strong debut for Toro Y Moi. It has it’s faults, but it also shows promise – Toro Y Moi is only going to get better. He’s slated to release another album towards the end of the year, and I’ll be looking forward to hear his growth as a songwriter on it.