Anything in Return
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The product of a move from South Carolina to Berkeley, CA and the subsequent extended separation from loved ones, Toro Y Moi's third full-length, Anything in Return, puts Chaz Bundick right in the middle of the producer/songwriter dichotomy that his first two albums established. There's a pervasive sense of peace with his tendency to dabble in both sides of the modern music-making spectrum, and he sounds comfortable engaging in intuitive pop production and putting forth the impression of unmediated id.
The producer's hand is prominent- not least in the sampled 'yeah's and 'uh's that give the album a hip-hop-indebted confidence- and many of the songs feature the 4/4 beats and deftly employed effects usually associated with house music. Tracks like 'High Living' and 'Day One' show a considerably Californian influence, their languid funk redolent of a West Coast temperament, and elsewhere - not least on lead single, 'So Many Details' - the record plays with darker atmospheres than we're used to hearing from Toro Y Moi.
Sounding quite assured in what some may call this songwriter's return to producer-hood, Anything in Return is Bundick uninhibited by issues of genre, an album that feels like the artist's essence.
Toro y Moi, alias South Carolina’s Chaz Bundick, has built his reputation through producing punchy and beat-heavy music, suitably fronted by his own voice. Chillwave is a label often thrown at him, but his music is often more complex than much of what falls under that banner.
The music found on his third studio album, Anything in Return, is not grandly different to what preceded it; but there is a harder edge here which is more constant than on previous releases. Beats are larger, the melodies more prominent, and as a whole it serves as both a continuation and extension of the upbeat sounds heard on 2011’s Freaking Out EP.
Throughout, these compositions are solidly assured creations. Thirteen tracks is perhaps on the long side, but there is the feeling that Bundick would not have left anything in which could have been cut, and each track adds to the record’s sparkly and glittering aesthetic.
The atmosphere can be intense, but there are moments that break the density and pace, and these are what ultimately make Anything in Return so enjoyable. Touch is a lethargic stroll, with Bundick in probably his most mellow mood of the album. The following Cola is similarly easy-going, before the clout is dialled-up for the record’s final third.
Cake is the most outright pop-oriented track – and it has a lot of competition in this category. It features finger-click beats and a brilliant, shining melody backed by repeated vocal echoes of “uh-huh”, which appear throughout the album. The glitzy Never Matter has a vibe perhaps best described as 90s RnB meets 00s dream-pop, and packs many a powerful punch.
Anything in Return is, in short, an energetic mixture of dirty pop and hip hop beats, laden with often-ebullient high-end melodies. Though Bundick’s smooth vocals can dominate when they appear, the timely breaks and instrumental details are never lost. Here, Toro y Moi goes longer and harder than before, and the results represent an accentuation of the elements which appealed in his prior work.
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Top customer reviews
There are funk, R&B, pop, chillout elements to the album. Hard to pigeon-hole and all the better for it.
Awesome headphone music.
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