Skip the Introduction
Cut straight to the chase – Toro y Moi’s latest album is damn good. Anything in Return is a record of nostalgia and fun. In a clever mix of ’90s R&B, vintage disco-funk, and modern synth-pop, this album gives listeners something memorable to kick off the new year. There is always plenty of new music for fresh listening every year, but not many records have this kind of staying power.
One of the best things about Anything in Return is that it needs no introduction. Whether you’re one of the many Toro y Moi fans who have been eagerly awaiting this new album since 2011, or you’ve never heard the name before in your life, you’ll be able to enjoy this record from start to finish. There is no need to understand the artist’s underlying intentions or analyze his background in order to appreciate the music. There is no scene to be a part of. It is just good music.
The album kicks off strong with “Harm in Change,” a track that fades in with tense sirens and a running beat that hooks you by the lip right from the start. As the smooth vocals and chopped up backing samples kick in, the song fills itself out into an honestly well crafted innovative pop song. This sound should ring familiar for fans of the chill-wave music that first brought Toro y Moi into the public eye. It’s full of energy without being energetic. It’s laid back without being slow.
Halfway through its run time, Anything in Return spits out “Studies,” possibly the album’s shining moment. Layers of funk-soaked bass, jazzy guitar, and wispy falsetto are all rolled into one of the most drumming-on-the-desk catchy and musically diverse songs of recent memory. Toro y Moi’s music on this record is all over the place with regards to instrumentation and melody, but it stays focused all the way through. It’s impressive and it shows that this artist has found something that really works.
Forget about where Toro y Moi is from, don’t worry about what his real name is, and disregard any notions you may have about what kind of scene he fits into. Listen and enjoy. If you play this album through a computer, you might notice your mouse cursor inexplicably bobbing in sync with the music. It’s an unusual side effect, but you’ll learn to enjoy it.