Toro Y Moi: Underneath The Pine

Toro Y Moi: Underneath The Pine

Hoping to escape the reductive “chillwave” tag, Chaz Bundick’s second album as Toro Y Moi finds the blissed-out electro-pop producer foregoing that bastard subgenre’s samples for completely organic instruments. Granted, Underneath The Pine is still pretty chill: Bundick’s music evokes an amber-colored nostalgia for the breezy grooves of ’70s soft rock and soul, all doused in reverb and digital warping. That postmodern longing for a funkier past is felt in the deep basslines and shimmering Mellotron tones of songs like “Go With You” and “Still Sound,” which recall French space-age-scavengers such as Air or Bertrand Burgalat, while a cheesy synthesizer pitch-bend transforms “New Beat” into glorious disco pastiche. But as on Causers Of This, Bundick hides behind his carefully constructed homages: His pleasant, Elliott Smith-like sigh of a voice is multi-tracked into a hazy oblivion that obscures the words of the autumnal, acoustic-guitar-driven “Before I’m Done” and drowns him under rolling waves of discordant synth burbles in “Light Black.” Bundick obviously prefers to remain a mystery, creating a sustained mood that’s more soundtrack than songcraft—and while Underneath The Pine is another killer late-night make-out album, it doesn’t do much to help Toro Y Moi stake out its own identity.

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