It’s always difficult to articulate the genre of the music of Toro Y Moi. Crafting a distinct fusion of R&B, electronica, jazz, and ‘chill-wave,’ Chad Bundwick’s project as Toro Y Moi (TYM) has produced a spectacularly diverse array of music over the past three years.
However, no matter where it goes, Toro Y Moi has always seemed to land on safe (and quite enjoyable) ground. But this is harder to say about TYM’s January release, Anything in Return.
There are some unquestionably good tracks here, perhaps some of Toro Y Moi’s best: lead single “So Many Details” and outstanding track “Harm in Change” seize upon Bundwick’s growing comfort with electronica while steadily returning to some of his earlier R&B styles. Midway through, the album’s tone shifts from trendy Seattle bistro to stoned summer roadtrips (with songs like “High Living”), introducing the strongest presence of Bundwick’s vocals ever with a more pop-centered appeal.
But there’s something fundamentally lacking. Bundwick’s songs aimlessly wander in Anything in Return, and it feels as if the album lacks real direction. The few outstanding tracks are scattered intermittently among mediocre filler songs. And even when Bundwick strays from his self-proclaimed “pop” album style, he incorporates his past musical ideas in uninteresting ways. Some of TYM’s stylistic synthesis falls flat here, and it’s really too bad. What was perhaps best about Toro Y Moi was that each record was a suprise—but when it comes to Anything in Return, Bundwick is growing predictable.