New Toro y Moi album leaked today. I want to get back into really reviewing albums, here we go.
Overall: Honestly, I'll get right into it. As this was one of my most anticipated albums of this year, Toro y Moi really does disappoint. It's sad that it seems few musicians can truly capture what made them great on their first album and be able to transfer that and improve it with their second. Where as "Causers of This" was very upbeat, danceable, and funky, while at the same time being relaxing and chill, "Under the Pine" is just...bland. Few of the songs add anything new to the experience and the same formula is used again and again making an 11 song album seem to be one giant composition. This is good in most scenarios, but with Toro y Moi, it just gets really boring, really fast. With Toro y Moi I've come to expect some awesome hooks that made "Causers of This" so spectacular, songs like 'Low Shoulder' and 'Talamak' really made it an amazing album, these awesome synths are truly lacking as Chaz replaces hooks with chords and repeating notes. The worst crime committed on the album though, may be Chaz's refusal to sing. Instead he replaces his voice with a high pitch moan, and when he does sing, it just feels awkward. It's odd that such a great debut is followed by such a different sophomore album. It's too relaxing and chill for one sitting. It feels like Toro y Moi have gone completely backwards in their progression, Chaz had a perfect combination of upbeat but chill tunes, and now it seems he has ditched my favorite aspect of his music. It is almost impossible to groove to this album, which was Toro y Moi's best trait.
Rating - 7/13.
Track by track:
Intro Chi Chi - Serves it's purpose pretty damn well. Song is primarily a speed picking guitar, lots of feedback, and Chaz's high pitched moans. Then the drum beat comes in and the song really picks up and starts grooving. It's very simple, but as an intro, that's what it's suppose to do. In essence, a great precursor into a highly anticipated album.
New Beat - This one's been out for a few days. Very rhythmic. Starts off with hand claps and a really catchy hook on the synth about 20 seconds in that is echoed by another synth, this by far makes the song. Without that synth the song would seriously be lacking, and the parts that don't have it suffer, but once it kicks back in you'll find yourself nodding your head along. Regardless, I feel this song dragged on and should had been cut down shorter.
Go With You - Starts off a kinda of scattered. Some guitar, some chords on the synth, nothing really feels organized. Then about 18 seconds in this synth and drum beat comes in, and the synth 40 seconds in really puts the song in its place. It's the first song Chaz really sings on this album with "You know I'll be all right with where ever it ends, our choice is on to them(?), it's the distance. I know I push it over, and I'm sorry for that, don't need to make this hurt, when we haven't started yet." About half way through the song changes and becomes much more poppy with a synth coming in on the beat and then a slow solo joined by Chaz going woahooooooohooooh.
Divina - And still, the album just gets chiller and chiller. By this point I want something really poppy, like 'Imprint After' was on "Causers of This". However, I find this to be the best song on the album up to this point. It's extremely relaxing and at points almost sees like a classical piece. It's really interesting to hear the fusion of old and new.
Before I'm Done - New territory for Toro y Moi. It reminds me of Beatles White Album work done by Paul. It has that acoustic guitar that he used a lot during then, (Blackbird, I Will, etc.) even the vocals seems Beatlesque. The outro is a bit lengthy though.
Got Blinded - Yes. This is what I've been waiting for. Something upbeat and danceable. Very great bass lick and constant chords on the keys that are being hit repetitively, unfortunately, this is met with more of Chaz's high pitched singing. Sadly, the longer the song goes on, the more calming it becomes.
How I Know - This one starts off pretty upbeat like 'Got Blinded' but not as much. The chorus is pretty explosive, and basically, fucking tasty. This might be my favorite song on the album. It has everything that makes Toro y Moi great really, a steady beat, some awesome keys, and Chaz singing pretty nicely. Also, this song has the lyric Under the Pine in it. I felt like that should be mentioned.
Light Black - This song doesn't really bring anything to the table. It's just noise. Maybe it's because at this point the album is just too repetitive, I don't know, it's just really basic and like all the other songs, synth, Chaz's high pitch vocals/moaning, just meh.
Still Sound - You should have heard this one by now, this has been out for a while. Very funky. Has a pretty nice bass. More of Chaz's moans...
Good Hold - Woah. This starts off really dark, almost gothic. Piano chords and piano notes that are very creepy. Later joined by Chaz's still high-pitched vocals. This has a really awesome effect on it though half-way through that makes it seem like you're listening underwater, definitely my favorite part of the whole album.
Elise - This is great. The only song on the album that has emotional depth it seems. Has some really awesome jazzy synths. Two and a half minutes in the song really picks up and turns spectacular, then becomes really soft again, boo. It stays that way too. For a cruel 2 minutes, then the upbeatness comes back! It cools down...and then just ends. I feel like in time this will be my favorite on the album and most others.
I'm going to go turn on "Causers of This" to remind myself why Toro y Moi is such a great artist and why I do love him so much.