At times I yearn for the early days of music journalism when the wide world of subgenres was just beginning to open up to me, a kid who’s bread and butter was hard Christian rock for years! One of those albums to shake up my musical perception was Toro y Moi’s “Anything In Return.”
A scant two songs in, it is apparent that “Boo Boo” is in an altogether aesthetic than when I first discovered him. Though, the musician’s tendencies remain firmly planted in that realm that rests somewhere between calm and adrenaline inducing. The sense of anxiety conveyed on Anything In Return is mostly gone. I found that to be more memorable than the follow up “What For?”, hence all the comparisons.
“Mona Lisa,” on my first listen, gives me the impression that this will be song that helps define my 2017 soundtrack. It demonstrates a compelling sense of control, while tapering off into a lush mood more reminiscent of what one might hear from Washed Out. A sense of longing devolves into a sense of resignation that carries over into “Pavement.” Not quite an interlude, but a similar ambience.
It was during “Windows” that it dawned on me that there are some resemblances to Polyenso’s Pure in the Plastic lie in this record. The layering of sound. The psychedelic electronica. The many, many samples. My urge to use the word “lush” in the review over and over. It’s all here. If you know me at all and are aware of the way I fanboy over Polyenso this is a very good thing. “Embarcadero” seems to act as confirmation bias to this hypothesis. I wonder if the song title harbors any inspiration from the Embarcadero district of downtown San Francisco.
“You and I” is another standout on the record because it conveys a sense of resolution in contrast to the earlier sense of longing that is stretched across multiple songs. It’s also the dreamiest song on the record, and I’m just a sucker for music that makes me feel like I’m floating. What can I say?
If you’re a sucker for a variety of music, including stuff that gives you that floating feeling (like me), I’d recommend this record.